[[abstract]]This paper analyzes the role the state played in the process of higher educational expansion in Taiwan from 1951-1996. Educational expansion is a major educational phenomenon in the twentieth century. Various economic and social theories have provided explanations on such dramatic educational movement. However, the author argues that these explanations are not complete without considering the role the state played in educational expansion. According to the framework developed by the state-centered theory, the state is capable of mediating, transforming, or even intervening with the influences of social forces. The state's capability of regulating the expansion of higher education is conditioned by its interests, its strength (economic and political), and its interaction with other social forces. Policy elites and their context as well as bureaucratic politics also affect the policy choices available to policy makers. Document reviews, literature reviews, and interviews were used to analyze the role the state played in Taiwan's higher educational expansion. The finding confirms that the state did play a critical role in influencing the patterns of growth of higher education in Taiwan. For a rather long period of time, the state regulated the pattern of growth of higher education due to the concerns about political stability and legitimacy. The state's financial conditions and its political strength also affected the pattern of growth of higher education. The interaction between the state and social forces was also an important factor influencing the development of higher education. Finally, policy elite and their context as well as the interaction within and among organizations shape the development of higher education, too. This paper concludes with a suggestion that educational policy analysis should pay serious attention to the role the state plays in shaping available policy choices.