Research in Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 7, pp 659–686 | Cite as

The Adoption of Prepaid Tuition and Savings Plans in the American States: An Event History Analysis

  • William R. Doyle
  • Michael K. McLendon
  • James C. Hearn


The past two decades have been a period of far-reaching policy experimentation in state financing of higher education. Between 1986 and 1999, 21 states adopted prepaid college tuition plans. Thirty-one states adopted some form of college savings plan. Both kinds of policies were designed to enhance the affordability of higher education during a time of growing concern about college costs. Using event history analysis, we explore various factors leading to the programs’ adoption, paying particular to the role of policy privatization, electoral competition and timing, and certain system characteristics of higher education. We find that more liberal governments were more likely to adopt prepaid tuition plans, that states with more competitive elections were less likely to adopt any type of prepaid or savings plan, and that states with decentralized governance were more likely to adopt one of these kinds of policies.


Event history analysis Prepaid tuition Savings plan Policy Politics 



The authors would like to thank the participants at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual meeting seminar, including James Fairweather, for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Doyle
    • 1
  • Michael K. McLendon
    • 1
  • James C. Hearn
    • 2
  1. 1.Peabody College of Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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