Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Committee Chair

Welsh, John F.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Reio, Thomas

Committee Member

Reio, Thomas

Committee Member

Winter, Paul

Committee Member

Rhodes, Fred

Committee Member

Donald, Carrie

Author's Keywords

Political culture; Affordability; Higher education boards; College cost


College cost--United States; Higher education and state--United States


The purpose of this study was to understand variance in state system performance of affordability using variables describing the state political environment and the structure of state higher education boards. The researcher utilized the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education's Measuring Up (2006) grade for the dependent variable. Three control variables were examined: (a) institutional strength of the governor, (b) professionalism of the state legislature, and (c) impact of the special interest groups. The independent variable was state higher education boards. Three levels existed for this variable: (a) consolidated governing board, (b) coordinating board, and (c) planning/service agency. Through examining the independent variable and the control variables that impacted affordability across the 50 states, it was evident that the results did not support research question one. Governance structure was not a significant predictor of affordability. The results of question two showed that professionalism of the state legislature was the most significant predictor of affordability across the three years in question, 2002, 2004, and 2006. Based on the results of the study, the researcher anticipates that policy makers will now spend less time focusing on governance structure and more time shedding light on why professionalism is so important to affordability of higher education across the 50 states.