Research in Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 416–450 | Cite as

Politics, Interest Groups and State Funding of Public Higher Education

  • David A. TandbergEmail author


State support of public higher education has rapidly declined relative to total state spending. Much of this decline in support is due to the rapid growth in spending on such things as Medicaid. However, relative support of public higher education varies significantly between states. This study applies Tandberg’s (2009) fiscal policy framework created to explain state support of public higher education in order to evaluate the relationship between various factors and states’ relative support of higher education. While Tandberg’s fiscal policy framework accounts for traditional economic and demographic factors in explaining state support for higher education, it also draws attention to political influences as well including the impact of state-level interest groups. Using cross-sectional time-series analysis these relationships are explored over a 19-year period. The findings provide evidence of the significant impact of interest groups and politics on state fiscal policy in regard to higher education.


Higher education funding Higher education policy Politics Policy formation Policy makers Policy Politics of education State policies Educational policy State politics Finance Appropriations 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pennsylvania Department of EducationPennsylvaniaUSA

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