WICHE Publications By Year


  • Building Capacity for Tracking Human Capital Development and Its Mobility Across State Lines

    Building Capacity for Tracking Human Capital Development and Its Mobility Across State Lines cover

    Over the past five years as the cost and value of higher education have gained increased policymaker, consumer, and media attention, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has worked with four of its member states to test how cross-state collaboration and data sharing might inform important questions about the development and mobility of human capital. This brief discusses the pilot phase of this project – the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE) – including the process of developing governance structures and cross-state agreements, the importance and feasibility of complying with privacy laws, and some policy-relevant results from the cohort of almost 193,000 high school graduates and first-time college students that were encompassed by the educational and workforce data exchange. Among other things, the MLDE highlights that public policy is better informed when the movement of students and graduates across state lines is factored into the setting and achievement of state workforce and educational attainment goals. The MLDE provides a viable solution for providing the information necessary to do just that.

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  • Student Exchange Programs Statistical Report, Academic Year 2014-15

    Student Exchange Programs Statistical Report, Academic Year 2014-15 cover

    This report covers fall 2014 enrollments for WUE, WRGP, and PSEP. It details the funds that flow between students’ home states and the enrolling PSEP institutions that receive them. This newly expanded format gives detailed enrollment for participating WRGP programs and WUE institutions. The “WUE Enrollment Report” will be discontinued as of the 2014-15 academic year and going forward, it will be replaced by the “Statistical Report”.

    36 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 3,644 KB


  • Closing the Degree Gap: The West’s Contributions

    This Policy Insight is a supplement to WICHE’s annual Benchmarks indicators, which summarize the West states’ progress with improving access to, success in, and financing of higher education. In this brief, we explore one variant for how WICHE states might meet projected educational attainment goals, such as the 60 percent by 2025 goal set by the Lumina Foundation. In particular, we explore what it would take for the Western region as a whole to meet this goal rather than each state individually, allowing for the possibility that some West states may achieve a higher level and for others it might not be feasible to reach 60 percent of their population having a high-quality postsecondary credential, because of substantial variation among states' current levels of educational attainment and projected population change over time.

    This issue of Policy Insights was prepared by Patrick Kelly of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS).

    4 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 167 KB
  • Affordability and Student Success: Recapping 2014 Higher Education Legislative Activity in the West

    Policy Insights Cover, Nov. 2014

    After reaching a low point in 2012, state investment in higher education increased for the second year in a row in 2014 – something that had not happened since the Great Recession of 2008 began. With greater stability in some, though certainly not all, state budgets, many Western legislatures in 2014 looked for new ways to contain college costs for students. In fact, affordability was the key theme of this year’s sessions; in an attempt to address affordability, legislators in the WICHE region passed bills freezing or limiting tuition increases and created new scholarships and other financial aid opportunities for students. Many Western states also increasingly looked to higher education as the driver of economic growth, as their legislatures focused more on community colleges and career and technical education, while others sought to encourage partnerships between business and postsecondary institutions. Issues to watch include undocumented students, guns on campus, military and veterans education, and the ongoing implementation of common academic standards that prepare students for college and careers. This Policy Insights summarizes the key topics and trends addressed during the 2014 legislative sessions and highlights other new and emerging issues to watch in the region.

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  • Benchmarks: WICHE Region 2014

    Benchmarks 2014, cover

    Benchmarks: WICHE Region 2014 presents information on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and financing of higher education. The information is updated annually with the most recent data available, to monitor change over time and encourage its use as a tool for informed discussion in policy and education communities.

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  • Successful Student Transfer: A Key Building Block of the Completion Agenda

    Increasing global competition in technology and commerce has led many nations, including the United States, to focus on the productivity and output of their higher education institutions. Data from the last few years show that the U.S. is falling behind many developed countries in degree production, and this is particularly true for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The reaction to this situation has been for academic leaders to initiate and emphasize strategies that fall under the heading of the “completion agenda,” which seeks ways to increase the proportion of the U.S. population with associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Two necessary imperatives for the completion agenda are to produce high school graduates that are college ready and to increase the rate at which students advance through higher education to a degree. To achieve the latter, we must address the impact of transfer, finding ways to move it from a stumbling block to a building block of degree completion.

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  • Tuition and Fees in Public Higher Education in the West, 2014-15: Detailed Tuition and Fees Tables

    Tuition & Fees, 2014-2015

    This report is the latest update of WICHE's annual report on tuition and mandatory fees at public institutions in the West, including a state-by-state and institution-by-institution historical review of tuition changes from year to year, as well as those from one, five, and ten years ago. This report presents published tuition and fees amounts as averages both unweighted and weighted by full-time equivalent enrollments. Unlike unweighted averages, which treat each institution equally no matter how big or small it is, enrollment-weighted averages provide a truer estimate of the published price a typical student faces based on enrollment patterns. Appendix E provides more information regarding enrollment weighting. In addition to the full report, all tuition and fee data tables are available to download in Excel format below.

    64 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 1557 KB
  • WICHE Commission Meeting Agenda Book, Nov 10 - 11, 2014

    WICHE Commission Meeting Agenda Book Cover - Nov 20-21, 2014

    Plenary Sessions (Presentations)

    122 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 2,082 KB


    Regional collaboration has been an essential part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s (WICHE) mission since its founding in 1953. The organization’s roots trace back to a time when there simply were not enough professional schools to supply each state with the doctors, dentists, and veterinarians it required to meet the needs of a burgeoning post-World War II populace. A number of Western states had yet to build a medical or dental school; unless other states came to their aid and accepted nonresident students at their professional schools, their residents would go unserved. WICHE was created to help states in the West meet critical workforce needs by fostering interstate agreements and programs to broaden access, initially in three professional fields and over the years expanding to include a broad range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

    Today, our region needs more skilled professionals than ever before, and needs them in a multitude of diverse fields. Our Professional Student Exchange program now includes 10 fields, from optometry to occupational therapy, providing a collaborative, cross-border assist to the states and people of our region. WICHE’s Western Regional Graduate Program offers tuition savings to students enrolling in 314 master’s, certificate and doctoral programs that run the gamut of disciplines. Broadening access to reduced cost undergraduate education (150 percent of resident tuition) is another of WICHE’s collaborative hallmarks; during academic year 2013-14 nearly 34,000 students benefited from the Western Undergraduate Exchange and saved an estimated $264.7 million in tuition. For the states where demand for higher education outstrips availability, WICHE’s valuable interstate programs ensure that capacity in other states can be tapped to benefit students throughout the West.

    —Dianne F. Harrison
    WICHE Chair

    16 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 108 KB
  • Beyond Borders: Understanding the Development and Mobility of Human Capital in an Age of Data-Driven Accountability

    Beyond Borders, a report on WICHE's Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange Pilot Project

    A Report on WICHE’s Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange Pilot Project

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  • Equity in Excellence for Colorado's Future

    Equity in Excellence for Colorado's Future Cover

    A Policy Audit and Analysis

    In 2013, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) launched a two-year project, Equity in Excellence, to support the implementation of Colorado’s higher education reform agenda. With a focus on the metropolitan Denver area, the project intends to align the state’s higher education policies with concrete, equity-focused actions at its public community colleges and four-year institutions. The purpose of this policy audit is to inform project, state, and institutional leaders about current policy and practice in Colorado with respect to equity as they work with CUE to assess and analyze how to better align state policy with equity-focused actions at the institutional level. Specifically, this audit analyzes alignment, gaps, and opportunities in state, system, and institutional policies, as well as the interaction between them, with an eye toward intentional and unintentional outcomes. It provides an external, objective perspective, with the goal of assisting Colorado’s state and institutional higher education leaders in designing (or redesigning) policies to achieve the goals laid out in the state’s master plan and to make those policies equitable toward all students.


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  • A Glimpse Beyond State Lines

    A Glimpse Beyond State Lines cover

    Student Outcomes from WICHE’s Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange Pilot Project

    59 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 525 KB


    The perceived value of postsecondary education to economic competitiveness and individual success is driving innovation in higher education. Competency-based education (CBE) is the latest disruption that seeks to respond to the growing sense of national urgency to boost education attainment. The target audience generally includes those adult learners with some college but no degree already participating in the workforce. Competency-based education also seeks to create greater transparency in learning outcomes to show how well individuals can apply identified competencies in the work-world. Yet, competency-based education is hard to understand and communicate. For those educators who are thinking about initiating competency-based education programs on their campuses, you need to know what others have learned in the process of designing CBE programs and the kinds of questions you should ask yourself at the outset.

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  • Tuition and Fees in the West 2013-14

    Tuition and Fees in the West 2013-14 cover

    WICHE's Policy Analysis and Research unit has released a new Policy Insight covering our most recent survey of published tuition and fees prices in all public institutions in the West in 2013-14. The report summarizes those findings and discusses state budget levels, higher education appropriations, state financial aid programs and related state finance policy innovations.

    8 ~ Media Type: PDF ~ File Size: 157 KB
  • WICHE Commission Meeting Agenda Book - May 12-13, 2014