The Political Context of Higher Education

M. Gittell, N. S. Kleiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is a comparative study of the impact of state politics and culture on higher education policy in three states: California, North Carolina, and Texas. By comparing higher education systems in these states, the study describes the degree of influence state government actors and culture have on higher education. This article explores the key policy areas of access and economic development to determine the effect of higher education regimes and state political culture on policy outcomes. The article evaluates access by evaluating who is not attaining higher education degrees and analyzing the current battles over affirmative action. With regard to economic development, the article determines the extent of actual economic development and the influence of state actors on that activity. The study's primary conclusion is that politics matter. Higher education systems and policy directions varied widely in each state, but state politics always proved to have a significant impact on major policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1091
Number of pages34
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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