The dominant idea of development as economic growth has considered the formation of human capital for achieving the end of economic growth as the main function of higher education institutions in the development process. But the empirical failure of this overly simplified idea and the emergence of other critical development theories have brought the necessity of applying different policy priorities in reconsidering the role of key institutions such as higher education to the fore. The purpose of this article is to study human development theory from the viewpoint of political thought and extract its policy implications in the realm of higher education; Thus the implicative narrative theory has been used as a conceptual framework and implication research as a methodology. According to the findings of the article, the political thought of the human development theory by going beyond the binary of individual and society, structure and agency, fact and value, the private and common good, or state and market, has emphasized and concentrated on their complementary role in designing and evaluating a good society. In addition to the importance of higher education institutions in human capital formation for achieving the end of economic growth, human development theory highlights the other key and neglected functions of higher education such as developing freedom, democracy, and social justice in the development process.