This study examines trends in national and State of Arizona college and university administrative expenditures, in particular expenditure shares for administration versus those for instruction, public service, and research. Separate case studies for the Arizona Community Colleges and the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) provide data to explore administrative expenditure trends in some detail in the state community college system and in one type of institution. The results are intended to increase understanding of higher education administrative expenditure patterns in the United States. Toward this goal, possible explanations for rising administrative costs are assessed using one theoretical framework, Organizational Complexity, and one mechanism, Organizational Distance and Budgetary Authority. A single research question with four sub-questions compares the community college expenditure patterns, over time, to those of four-year colleges and universities. An additional research question with two sub-questions examines data by functional category in order to identify how and why disproportionate changes in expenditure patterns occur.