National Study of State Support for Higher Education

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National Study of State Support for Higher Education

Project Leads

David Weerts

Associate Professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
Co-Director, Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Affiliate, WISCAPE
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Justin Ronca

Lead Mathematical Statistician, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
United States Social Security Administration
Affiliate, WISCAPE
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Overview

This study is a follow-up to WISCAPE's Examining Differences in State Support for Higher Education.

State support for public colleges and universities in the United States has declined dramatically over a thirty year period, and this downward spiral is of great concern to educational leaders and scholars. The purpose of this project is to conduct a large scale study of changes in state appropriations for public colleges and universities from 1975-2005 in order to: 1) identify variables that best explain fluctuations in state support for public universities; 2) identify states that have historically varied in their support of public higher education and reasons behind these variances; and 3) understand contextual differences between institutions that have received high versus low levels of state appropriations.

Prior studies of this kind have focused solely on overall state support for higher education while ignoring institutional and system governance factors that may contribute to differences in appropriations. This study seeks to understand how variables at all three levels contribute to increasing or decreasing state appropriations for higher education.

Weerts presented results from this study at the WISCAPE forum Balancing Give and Take: Funding and Accountability in Higher Education on October 11, 2007. Slides and audio from that presentation are available online. A WISCAPE working paper based on this study, Determinants of State Support for Higher Education from 1985-2005: An Organizational Theory Analysis, is also available for download.

An appendix with detailed information about the data used for this study is also available.

Related WISCAPE publications

RELATED PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS

  • Weerts, D. J. & Ronca, J. M. (2012). Understanding differences in state support for higher education across states, sectors, and institutions: A longitudinal study. The Journal of Higher Education 83(2), 155-185. The Ohio State University Press.
  • Weerts, D. J. (2010, May 4). Beating the odds: When higher education wins in tough times. Research paper presentation, American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO
  • Weerts, D. J. (2009, April 15). Funding the flagships: Governance, power, and identity in state support for higher education. Research paper presentation, American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA. Also published under the same title as a monograph at the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston Law Center.
  • Weerts, D. J. (2008, November 7). Power, identity, and inequities in state support for public college and universities in Massachusetts. Research paper presentation, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Jacksonville, FL.  Also published under the same title as a monograph at the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston Law Center.

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