Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Linda Hagedorn


These three articles critically examined the priorities of American higher education institutions through studying their patterns of spending. Precipitated from an interest in the consequences that the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 had on public higher education institutions in the United States, this research studied how the institutions chose to allocate their financial resources. By using finances as a measure of priorities across the higher education system, these collective choices revealed systemic priorities. Each of these three articles analyzed these priorities from a unique perspective.

Article one examined the consequences of changes in state funding on the likelihood of academic programs closing by discipline. Using survival analysis with data between 2000 and 2009 from 574 institutions, the study addressed the question of whether changes in state funding had an effect on academic program closures and whether effects differed across academic disciplines. This study contributed to the higher education literature by identifying environmental variables that stakeholders could monitor. It also provided a more complex and contrasting perspective to the most recent literature published on academic program closures. Finally, the stages of budget contraction in the literature were affirmed by this study.

The second article showed how institutions' tuition revenues and state funding allocations affect the subsequent expenditure patterns. Using growth curve modeling to analyze data between 1990 and 2009 of 165 public research institutions this study provided insights to how changes in revenues disproportionally effect changes in expenditures. Results demonstrated that negative changes in state funding had significantly different effects on functional areas' proportion of expenditures than did positive changes in state funding. Further, positive and negative changes in tuition revenues had effects on different functional areas.

The third article inspected inter-collegiate athletics within the American higher education system and looked at progress toward fulfillment of Title IX by longitudinally analyzing expenditures per sport by gender. Published research had studied participation numbers over time, but no known research studied expenditures as a way to measure progress toward gender equity. This study used univariate growth curve modeling to examine self-reported data from 990 institutions between 2003 and 2010. The findings demonstrated that the growth in funding for men's teams is greater and getting faster than the growth in funding for women's teams.


Copyright Owner

Clinton M. Stephens



File Format


File Size

142 pages