Theses and Dissertations


Potter, Michael R.

Committee Member

Abutabenjeh, Sawsan

Committee Member

Rush, Christine

Committee Member

Stanisevski, Dragan

Committee Member

Baham, Tracey

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible MSU only 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Land grant, also known as Morrill Act, institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were founded upon the principles to educate a target population with limited access to resources to expand their educational opportunities and social mobility. With the rise of new public management and neoliberalism, state financial support for higher education has changed drastically over the past two decades. Institutions are required to demonstrate performance metrics for funding. However, some of these institutions have been disproportionately under-resourced for many decades and the funding inequality has left them with a unique set of challenges to overcome. Social construction theory demonstrates the way policy can influence a target population and how the policies can shape societal perceptions about the target group. Limited funding, or in some cases omitted funding, from state legislatures to HBCUs or other Predominantly Black Institutions has led inequitable learning environments despite these institution’s commitment to serving students who may not have the financial means to otherwise pursue a postsecondary education. This study seeks to analyze the historical context of state relationships with higher education institutions, the historical context of funding inequality in higher education policy, the current climate for land grant and minority serving institutions’ role in higher education, the evolving emphasis on performance metrics for higher education institutions, and the analysis of funding practices in a more recent allocation year to investigate if funding inequality persists in the current climate.