Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Todd Ream

Second Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Steve Bedi


The division between private non-profit organizations and the federal government continues to grow as an emerging topic. The difficulties resulting from religious objections against federal mandates stand as integral parts of higher education history. The current disagreement is represented in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health and Human Services Preventative Services Mandate. According to both legislative documents, the HHS mandate requires non-profit institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to all employees. As a result, many faith-based institutions sued for exemption claiming religious violations from the federal government. This case study focused on the original Supreme Court injunction granted to Wheaton College and the subsequent aftermath of the review. A wide range of legal cases and historical documents provided the foundation for the research. Several themes emerged from the content including the narrowness of the exemption status and the options for other non-profit institutions. The results and findings offer a possible solution for institutions currently engaged in a lawsuit or considering other alternative measures. The sections for limitations and further research provide directions for improvement and considerations when analyzing federal legislation and potential directions for religious educational institutions.