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 and 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 curriculum for members, staff, and volunteers.



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

Areas of Expertise

Public Finance & Budget
State and Local Taxes
Educational financing (K-12 and postsecondary)

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

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