Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Welsh, John F., 1951-

Author's Keywords

Political culture; Affordability; Higher education; 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 in affordability using variables describing the state political environment and the higher education governance structure. Understanding how the political culture of states affects higher education illuminates agendas, priorities, and motivations of key decision-makers in higher education. The dependent variable was affordability of higher education measured by the National Council on Public Policy in Higher Education "Measuring Up" (2000) grade. Independent variables were the impact of special interest groups, the state higher education governance structure, legislative professionalization, and the institutional strength of the governor. Pearson product-moment correlations and multiple regression analysis provided the data analysis. The results of this study indicated that the combination of political culture and governance structure variables contributed 19% to the variance in affordability grades. Each independent variable contributed some unique variance to the prediction of affordability. The conclusion of this research elucidated the need for state and campus officials to collaborate on issues of affordability and higher education performance. The study echoed calls by numerous researchers and analysts to work together in establishing comprehensive policies that bridge state appropriations, local tuition prices, and financial aid.