Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Political Science


Michael Miller

Committee Member

Valerie Hunt

Second Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Third Committee Member

Tom Smith


Education Policy, Finance, Fund Raising, Higher Education, Public Adminstration, Public Policy


Public higher education has experienced a decline in state funding in real dollars. This has created financial challenges for many students and their families, as well as institutions.

Tax revenue has decreased as a result of the economic recession, causing state leaders to reprioritize their fiscal responsibilities. Higher education has been viewed as a discretionary expense in competition with other state programs, so funding can, and often, does vary. Colleges and universities use alternative financial resources, most notably private fundraising, to meet their goals. The study was conducted to identify college leaders' perceptions of state funding during their institution's mega-capital campaign and determine the influence of mega-capital campaign involvement on state funding for their institution. Using a mixed-methods approach to collect and analyze data, the study found that there was no statistically significant difference between state funding and mega-capital campaigns, including no statistically significant differences between institutions who were hosting a mega-capital campaign and matched peer institutions that were not hosting mega-capital campaigns. College leaders also suggested that state funding for their university was not influenced by their institution's capital campaign status. Kingdon's (2011) Three Streams theoretical framework was used as a lens to analyze the policy implications for the study. This analysis indicated that substantial fiscal policy changes could be developed for public higher education. Further research on the impact of funding on higher education was recommended, as well as an exploration of state legislative funding decision-making processes.