Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Dr. Combs’ research looks at the impacts of state and local finance policy on the distribution of educational resources across school districts and regions. Some of his current research projects involve the role of property assessment quality in education finance inequality, the redistribution of local option sales tax for educational expenditures, and the budgetary response of colleges to state subsidies. Dr. Combs is a first-generation college student who earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Kentucky. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Combs worked as a nonprofit management consultant, organizing nationwide philanthropic efforts and designing educational curricula for members, staff, and volunteers.

  • PhD, University of Kentucky, Public Policy and Administration, 2018
  • MPA, University of Kentucky, 2014
  • BA, Eastern Kentucky University, Political Science, 2009
Areas of Expertise
  • Public Finance & Budget
  • State and Local Taxes
  • Educational Financing
Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • UGA Student Career Success Influence Award, 2024
Course Instruction
  • PADP 7120 – Data Applications
  • PADP 8430 – Financial Management
  • PADP 3100 – Introduction to Policy Analysis
  • PADP 4640 – Introduction to Nonprofit Administration
Research Interests

How various features of state and local taxes, such as property and sales, affect educational spending between school districts and between rural and urban locations.

The potential for tax and expenditure limits imposed on schools to spill over into the nonprofit sector in ways that may advance or hinder school finance equalization.

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.

Selected Publications

Afonso, W., Combs, A., Buerger, C. (2024). Plugging the tax leak: An analysis of North Carolina’s local sales tax redistribution policy. State and Local Government Review, 56(1), 76-90.

Combs, A. (2023). High school student achievement and college enrollment in the absence of school improvement interventions: Evidence from Kentucky. Public Finance and Management, 22(1). 10.1177/2F2332858420988712