Date of Award

Fall 12-21-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, PhD

Committee Member

William Long, PhD

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, PhD


Higher education lobbying, State appropriations, College lobbying, Higher education interest groups


The higher education literature has developed a growing number of frameworks identifying the economic, demographic, and political influences on state support for public colleges and universities. Among the important political factors that affect state support, the role of lobbying has been highlighted by many authors as an important factor for future study, especially in light of the growing state lobbying forces present in legislatures across the country. Although some studies have incorporated aggregate measures of lobbying in comparative state support studies, the power of institutional lobbying as it relates to appropriations and other forms of support remains understudied in the literature.

This study examined institution-level data for 534 public 2- and 4-year colleges in 15 states over a period of 10 years, with the goal of examining institutions working under similar lobbying disclosure laws. A unique lobbying expenditure dataset was collected from state government websites, and a multilevel model using panel data was employed to examine the effects of institutional lobbying on state support measures.

The results of analysis reveal that institutional lobbying has increased over 80% in real terms over the 10-year dataset. Significant differences also exist in lobbying expenditures by institutional type, with research universities spending an average of 10 times more than community colleges. No statistically significant relationship between an institution’s lobbying expenditures and measures of state support were found, suggesting future scholars should continue to examine lobbying from different perspectives and consider expenditure data as a new source for the creation of institutional and state measures.