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ERIC Number: EJ1002135
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 63
ISSN: ISSN-0316-1218
The Making of a Policy Regime: Canada's Post-Secondary Student Finance System since 1994
Wellen, Richard; Axelrod, Paul; Desai-Trilokekar, Roopa; Shanahan, Theresa
Canadian Journal of Higher Education, v43 n3 p1-23 2012
This paper examines the pattern of decision-making, lobbying, and influence that led to the landmark series of federal student assistance policies introduced by Jean Chretien's Liberal government in the late 1990s. The package of new initiatives--dubbed the Canada Opportunities Strategy--not only partially reversed an earlier period of fiscal restraint but also brought a new emphasis on direct forms of student assistance such as grants, bursaries, and tax credits. However, programs such as the Canada Millennium Bursaries and the Canada Education Savings Grants, despite their focused approach and innovative structure, came to be regarded as weak policy tools when measured against their ostensible goals of widening access to post-secondary education and efficiently targeting student assistance on the basis of need. The new policy regime also failed to fulfil nearly two decades of previous efforts by policy-makers to transform Canada's student debt program into a systematic income-contingent loan program. We offer explanations of this pattern of policy inconsistency and incoherence by examining the awkward challenges of intergovernmental relations in the Canadian federal system as well as the fragmentation and competing goals now evident in student assistance policy networks. We contrast the student finance policy regime with the arguably more coherent set of research and innovation policies established by the federal government during the same period. We use policy network analysis as our theoretical framework, and we use data from our extensive interviews with higher education stakeholders and policy-makers to provide empirical support. (Contains 1 table and 12 notes.)
Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. P.O. Box 34091, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5, Canada. Tel: 204-474-6404; Fax: 204-474-7561; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada