This paper analyses the changes in the higher education funding policies and resource allocation models of the Jamaican government in the period 1962-2003. Throughout these four decades, four different systems were in force. This paper focuses particularly on the arguments for the funding policies and models and the impact of the models on the operation of the higher education institutions, access to higher education and equity and efficiency within the higher education system. The analysis reveals that each funding model has its advantages and downsides. Some of these can be traced back to the logical underpinnings of the models. At the same time, however, part of the developments and (unintended) consequences are due to path-dependent elements of the evolving small-state system of higher education, notably the fact that the main Jamaican university is an intergovernmental multi-campus university.