Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Chicago, IL


The lengthy and convoluted process leading to the 2008 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act can be explained using John Kingdon's policy process model in which policy problems, possible solutions, and political alignments can converge to open a "window" through which policy entrepreneurs can advance their preferred positions. In the case of HEA'08, a problems stream of complaints about rising costs and higher education performance and a policy stream of popular standards-based regulation and accountability in K-12 education converged with a politics stream of heightened partisanship, reform-minded Republican Congressional and Presidential leadership uncommitted to traditional higher education, and a divided higher education advocacy coalition. The resulting pressure successfully opened a policy window through which Republican policy entrepreneurs could pursue ambitious accountability-focused regulatory reforms. Although slowed by Democratic victories 2006 and the mobilization of the traditional higher education community, the idea of greater accountability captured enough momentum to move the focus of HEA’08 away from access and autonomy toward greater regulation and intervention.


higher education policy, public policy, policy politics


Higher Education | Political Science