Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Dr. Combs’ research focuses on the impacts of state and local finance throughout the P-20 education pipeline with particular interest in competition for financial resources and human capital among jurisdictions or institutions. Dr. Combs’ current research projects involve the composition of state support for higher education, college student migration, and the interaction between school finance equalization and various property tax mechanisms in rural and non-rural communities. Dr. Combs earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Kentucky where he worked as a research analyst with the Kentucky Center for Statistics to explore the effects of the opioid epidemic on educational outcomes. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Combs worked as a nonprofit management consultant, organizing nationwide philanthropic efforts and designing award-winning educational curriculum for members, staff, and volunteers.



Ph.D. | University of Kentucky | 2018 | Public Policy and Administration
Master of Public Administration | University of Kentucky | 2014
Bachelor of Arts | Eastern Kentucky University | 2009 | Political Science

Areas of Expertise

Public Finance
School Finance Equalization
Financial Aid
Property Taxes

Course Instruction

PADP 7120 – Data Applications
PADP 8430 – Financial Management
PADP 3100 – Introduction to Policy Analysis
PADP 4640 – Introduction to Nonprofit Administration

Research Interests

The composition of state funding between higher education appropriations and various types of student financial aid and its impact on college access, migration, degree completion, and institutional budget expenditures. School finance equalization between rural and non-rural districts, especially with respect to the role of property tax mechanisms such as assessments, tax exemptions, and local tax rate levies chosen by school boards.

Selected Publications

Combs, A.E., Foster, J., & Toma E.F. (2018). Local response to school finance equalization: Wealth or place? Public Finance and Management, 18(3).

Combs, A.E., & Foster, J. (2021). The effects of homestead exemptions for seniors and disabled people on school districts. Rural Education Finance and Policy, special issue of AERA Open. DOI: 10.1177/2F2332858420988712