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ERIC Number: ED554388
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 366
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-8793-3
Making Policy in the United States Department of Education: The Political Process of Federal Rulemaking for Higher Education
Natow, Rebecca Spiro
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Higher education rulemaking is the procedure through which the United States Department of Education creates policy in the form of regulations that govern the provision of higher education funding and services. Until now, there has been a shortage of research into the politics of higher education rulemaking. This study investigates the actors that are involved and influential in the process, the manner in which beliefs influence actors' involvement in the process and the content of final rules, and how political, economic, and social contexts are associated with higher education rulemaking. This study employs a qualitative embedded case study design to analyze two units of analysis: the overall process of rulemaking in the Office of Postsecondary Education as a case of a federal rulemaking process, and cases of 30 individual higher education rulemakings regulating such matters as financial aid program integrity and institutional accreditation, among other issues. Data were collected from interviews with policy and higher education actors, rulemaking documents, news reports, and relevant organizations' websites. With regard to actors, this study finds that a number of actors--namely, the Department of Education, the White House, Congress, and certain interest groups--do consistently wield a substantial amount of power over the process. However, high-profile, controversial rulemakings generally have more involvement from the president and Congress, whereas less prominent and highly technical rulemakings permit the Department of Education and interest groups to exert more influence over rules. With regard to beliefs, this study finds that beliefs influence actors' behavior in the higher education rulemaking process. Moreover, powerful actors' beliefs about rule subject matter have been reflected in final regulations. With regard to contexts, this study finds that party control of government, economic conditions, technology, and high-profile events have been related to the nature of higher education rulemaking, the actors who participate in the process, and the strategies and tactics actors employ in attempts to influence rulemaking. This study adds to existing literature by providing a detailed, research-based description of the higher education rulemaking process. This research also applies and expands on existing theories regarding the actors, beliefs, and contexts that influence policymaking. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A