Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration and Urban Policy

Committee Director

Berhanu Mengistu

Committee Member

Mohamad Alkadry

Committee Member

Gwendolyn Lee-Thomas

Committee Member

Connie Merriman


The growing presence and transient nature of for-profit higher education institutions in the US pose governance and regulatory challenges for bureaucratic structures, legislatures and non-profit postsecondary institutions. One such challenge is the perceived lack of governance and regulation of for-profit higher education institutions. This paper examines the impact of the higher education regulatory environment in the US on the presence of for-profit higher education institutions. Ordinal logistic regression is employed to determine whether state higher education governance structure, regulatory characteristics, and/or regional accreditation agency jurisdiction influence the prevalence of for-profit colleges and universities. State higher education governance structure and two regional accrediting agency jurisdictions (Middles States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Colleges and Schools) were found to contribute to the presence of fewer for-profit postsecondary institutions. The results suggest the need for strengthened state governance, as well as laws and policies that are congruent with state and federal economic development goals.


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