Theses Doctoral

No Longer Exempt: Higher Education’s Entrée into Lobbying

Camp, Matthew J.

As populist forces stretch apart higher education and government, colleges lobby in measurable ways to secure scarce funding and respond to accountability regulations. The non-profit and corporate lobbying literature provides a basis of comparison to ask if colleges lobby like corporations, which have been successful lobbyists under challenging conditions. This study shows the connection between federal governmental funding and higher education lobbying by drawing on a newly-created database of 2,000 B.A-granting institutions of higher education from 2004-2014, and explores the rationales and tactics of higher education via interviews with 20 New York-based lobbyists and legislators and a sampling of 200 news stories from the 50 states. I find that for-profit college lobbying is slightly associated with Pell grant dependence and that non-profit college lobbying is strongly associated with federal research and development dependence. I also find that although lobbyists band together to advocate for large pots of funding to help equalize on-campus budgets, colleges break away into increasingly small coalitions as funding becomes more specific along the budget process. Colleges lobby in response to high-profile accountability measures but do so in ways distinct from corporations. The study adds detail to the emerging higher education lobbying literature, opens pathways for further exploration, and offers implications for scholars who study higher education and political science.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Politics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Henig, Jeffrey
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 8, 2021