Escalating Engagement: State Policy to Protect Access to Higher Education

WICHE Policy Analysis and Research Mission:

The Policy Analysis and Research unit offers a variety of policy and information resources to support better informed decision making, principally at the state level. The unit is involved in a number of research projects and collaborative initiatives that focus on college completion: adult learners; multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development; and other critical areas. WICHE staff serve as a useful resource on a number of higher education issues, including state and federal financial aid, finance, articulation and transfer, the Common Core State Standards, and various college completion initiatives. Its publication series, including Policy Insights and Western Policy Exchanges, explore a wide range of significant policy issues. The unit also undertakes major, long-term grant-funded projects, collaborates with other regional and national organizations, and provides short-term technical assistance to members.

Escalating Engagement: State Policy to Protect Access to Higher Education

Escalating Engagement: State Policy to Protect Access to Higher Education was funded by The Ford Foundation to expand the work we had started. The West cannot be characterized as a single entity, and thus we focused more sharply on two of the most important state-level issues currently facing our region: access for historically underrepresented groups and the role of higher education in state workforce development and economic development. Our goal was to help states build the capacity for change and to initiate that change by consensus building and action-oriented work.

We employed tools that we had found to be highly effective in informing policymakers and in moving the change process forward. The project's major activities included:

  • Regional and sub-regional forums to bring together policymakers from different sectors of the policy community with experts for in-depth discussions of critical issues facing higher education. 

  • Roundtables involving key high-level players needed to make progress on transformation in higher education policy in the West. 

  • Technical assistance to support an assessment of a state's existing capacity to capitalize on its postsecondary education sector to support its current economic development and workforce development needs and discussion of new strategies to more closely link postsecondary education to future near-term state economic development and workforce development goals.

  • Commissioned papers to support state and regional discussions on our major issue areas and to inform policymaking.

  • Ford/WICHE Fellows to conduct research and develop papers on the project's topics. 

  • Annual meetings of WICHE's Legislative Advisory Committeeto engage members in the project's activities and discussion of its core issues.

For a fuller description of the project, link to the Escalating Engagement Project Description

Regional and Sub-Regional Forums


Western Summit on Workforce Certification and Higher Education June 11-13, 2008, South Lake Tahoe, CA


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6:30 – 8:00 pm
Dinner with Keynote Speaker

Speaker: Jimmy Clarke, Former Chief of Staff to Kathleen Blanco, Former Governor of Louisiana


Thursday, June 12

8:30 – 9:00 am
Welcome & Meeting Overview

Speaker: Dolores Mize, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, WICHE

9:00 – 10:30 am

David Longanecker presentation

Workforce and Economic Development in a Globally Competitive World

The increasingly competitive and interconnected global economy is dramatically transforming how nations, states, and communities compete. Meanwhile, the U.S. is undergoing dramatic demographic changes that have broad implications for the readiness of a key foundation of our economies: our future workforce. Complacency in this environment is not an option for our continued prosperity. This session will lay out the broad context in which state education and workforce development policies are being considered and implemented, and it will examine how one approach – a workforce certification system – holds promise for helping ensure our competitiveness.

Speaker: David Longanecker, President, WICHE

10:45 – 11:30 am
Ready For College and Ready For Work: What Do We Know About Essential Skills?

A recent study recently reached the conclusion that the core competencies individuals need for success in college are essentially the same as those needed for a life of productive work in the rapidly changing economy of today and the future. This session will provide evidence from that report and consider the broad implications this conclusion has for educators and policymakers.

Speaker: Richard Ferguson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ACT, Inc.

11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Readiness For Work After School

With education and workforce policy, the stakes are always high and initiating change is rarely easy. In this session, participants will hear how policymakers can best promote the benefits of a workforce certification-based initiative while addressing the challenges presented by stakeholders from all across the spectrum.

Speaker: Roger Sampson, President, Education Commission of the States

1:15 – 2:30 pm
WorkKeys: Certifying Workforce Readiness Based Upon the Skill Demands of Employers

One of the major obstacles to stronger linkages between the delivery of education and workforce development goals is the uncertainty about how well traditional education measures workforce readiness. ACT’s WorkKeys assessment eliminates much of that uncertainty by explicitly connecting information about the skill levels demanded by actual jobs with the demonstrated abilities of individual students. This session will provide more details concerning how the WorkKeys assessment tool works and how it might be put to use to provide valuable feedback information to employers, educators, and students.

Speaker: Tom Kilijanek, WorkKeys Regional Manager, ACT, Inc.

2:45 – 4:45 pm
Implementing a Workforce Certification System in Your State or Region: Lessons From the Field

A workforce certification system holds the promise of providing useful information about workforce readiness to employers, educators, and individual students. But getting such a system implemented and working to its potential is a significant challenge. During this session, participants will learn from the experiences of panelists who have been involved with putting workforce certification systems in place.

Moderator: Camille Preus, WICHE Commissioner and Commissioner, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development

Tim Alford, Former Director of the Office of Workforce Development, Office of the Governor of Alabama
Pam Gobel, Career Readiness Certificate Director, North Carolina Community College System
Kathy Hund, Director of Workforce Education and Training Services, Kansas Department of Commerce and Board of Regents


Friday, June 13

8:30 – 9:00 am
Building and Implementing an Evidence-Based Workforce Certification System

Speaker: Dolores Mize, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, WICHE

9:00 – 11:15 am
Facilitated Group Discussions

Participants will be divided into smaller groups to consider how a workforce certification system might best be employed to meet their state needs. Each group will have a seasoned facilitator to guide its discussion, with the goal that the discussion will help states jump start their ability to more cohesively link their education activities and workforce development goals.

11:15 – 11:30 am
Closing Remarks

Speaker: David Longanecker, President, WICHE


Finding the Right Port in a Storm: Strengthening the Connection between Higher Education and State Workforce Development Goals June 25-26, 2007, Denver, CO


Monday, June 25

12.00 – 12.30 pm
Welcome, Introductions, and Meeting Overview

Speaker: Dolores Mize, Program Director, Policy Analysis and Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

12:30 – 1:30 pm
Luncheon Keynote

Speaker: Anthony Carnevale, Research Professor, Georgetown University

Anthony Carnevale is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the intersection of education and labor force needs, the author of numerous books and other publications, and an influential researcher on relevant national and state policies. His keynote address will focus on the emerging shape of the global marketplace for skilled workers and its implications for our continued economic prosperity. Of particular focus will be what America and its states must be prepared to do to ensure that we remain competitive in this environment. Questions from the audience will be welcome following the remarks.

1.30 – 2.45 pm

Dennis Jones presentation


Ill Winds Blowing: Social Mobility Today and Prospects for the Future

As the population of the nation and the West grows increasingly diverse, state policymakers need a thorough understanding of their state’s demographic patterns and trends. Whether individuals are able to be socially mobile has a great deal to do with their success in the public education system. This session will draw the linkages between education and social mobility for different groups.

Moderator: Brian Prescott, Research Associate, Policy Analysis and Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Speaker: Dennis Jones, President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

2.45 – 4.00 pm

Tad Perry presentation


Defining a Public Agenda for Higher Education’s Role in Workforce Development

Recommitting public postsecondary institutions to meeting state needs requires that states first understand their challenges in workforce and workplace development and are able articulate their goals. Second, states need to craft a public agenda around those goals through the active involvement of key stakeholders, including the business community. In this session, we will hear from the experience of states that have built the case for a public agenda that has reenergized its public institutions and refocused their attention on meeting future workforce needs.

Moderator: Dolores Mize, Program Director, Policy Analysis and Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education


Darcy Renfro, Policy Advisor for Higher Education, Innovation, and the Economy, Arizona Governor’s Office

Robert “Tad” Perry, Executive Director, South Dakota Board of Regents

4.15 – 5.30 pm
Strategies to Effectively Engage Adult Learners for Enhanced Workforce Participation

Jobs that provide a high wage demand a high level of skills and education in our increasingly globalized knowledge economy, and an estimated 80 percent of all new jobs will require a college degree. Too many adults in our society do not have a college degree that makes them competitive for such jobs. Moreover, many lack basic literacy skills as well. Without sufficient skills or credentials, they will be trapped in low-wage and inconsistent employment, if they are able to stay in the workforce at all. But meeting the diverse educational needs of adults, including basic skills training, remedial coursework, and part-time enrollment, among others, are major challenges for states and institutions. This session will feature a national expert on how to best engage the targeted adult population in postsecondary education to better prepare them for success in the global workforce, as well as a higher education leader deeply involved in building bridges to state and local workforce needs.

Moderator: Gregory Anderson, Program Officer, The Ford Foundation

Karen Steinberg, Executive Vice President, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

Elaine DeLott Baker, Director of Workforce Initiatives, Community College of Denver


Tuesday, June 26

8.30 – 9.45 am

Cam Preus-Braly presentation

William Goetz presentation



Are We All Rowing in the Same Direction? Aligning Policies Related to Higher Education and Workforce Development

State legislators face a confusing jumble of policies related to workforce development and higher education. The collection of these policies should not present incentives that raise barriers to the development of better jobs, in favor of any jobs. In particular, states risk being left behind if, in their efforts to simply reduce rates of unemployment, they fail to enact policies that create space for individuals to obtain the education they need to successfully improve their employment prospects for the present and the future. This session will examine where potential conflicts may arise, and also consider the interaction of related federal policies.

Moderator: David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Cam Preus-Braly, Commissioner, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development

William Goetz, former Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, State of North Dakota

9.45 – 11.00 am
Working Groups

Participants will gather in groups to brainstorm how to best strengthen the linkages between higher education institutions and their state’s workforce development goals. The objective of this session is to emerge with ideas and momentum to improve the way that public institutions fulfill this critical state need. Discussion will be facilitated by representatives from WICHE and its partner organizations.

11.20 am – 12.30 pm

Paul Lingenfelter presentation

Jeff Sellers presentation



Keeping the Goal in Sight: Effective Use of Data to Measure Your Progress

It is no longer reasonable for states to treat their higher education enterprises with benign neglect, or to trust to an accountability model based more on faith than on real, quantifiable results. Rather, states that monitor the performance of their public institutions in meeting workforce needs are best positioned to be successful in a globally competitive environment. This session will emphasize the increasingly critical need for states to collect good information and put it to good use as part of an accountability system aligned with clearly articulated state objectives. It will also highlight the efforts of one state that is on the cutting edge of data gathering and analysis.

Moderator: Dennis Jones, President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

Paul Lingenfelter, President, State Higher Education Executive Officers

Jeff Sellers, Director, K-20 Education Data Warehouse, Florida Department of Education

1.30 – 2.45 pm
An Involved Legislature: Recommendations from NCSL’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education

Not long ago, the National Conference of State Legislatures convened a select group of state legislators to consider how states can help transform higher education to meet society’s needs for today and for the future. The resulting report, issued in October 2006, calls on state legislators to embrace a sense of urgency in reexamining policies that promote or inhibit the global competitiveness of our higher education institutions. During this session, we will hear from members of the Blue Ribbon Commission.

Moderator: Julie Davis Bell, Education Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures

Representative Denise Merrill, Chair, House Appropriations Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives; Co-chair, NCSL Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education

Representative Geanie Morrison, Chair, House Committee on Higher Education, Texas House of Representatives; Member, NCSL Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education

2.45 – 3.00 pm
Closing Comments

David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education



If We Don't Build It, Who Will Come? Higher Education, State Workforce, and Economic Development December 2004, Denver, CO


Thursday, December 2, 2004

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.

Welcome and Meeting Overview
David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

8:40 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Framing the Discussion
Jorge Balan, Senior Program Officer for Education and Scholarship, The Ford Foundation

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Dennis Jones's presentation


Plenary Session: State Trends, Issues, and Challenges Ahead
This session will establish a contextual overview for the forum. Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) will present findings from his recent publication on workforce and economic development trends in the WICHE states. Speaker: Dennis Jones, President, NCHEMS.

9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Implications of State Trends for Workforce, Economic Development, and Higher Education
Drawing on remarks from the opening plenary presentation, this panel will begin the discussion of the issues around higher education, workforce, and economic development with panelists representing each of those sectors. In addition to highlighting promising approaches in the states, panelists will explore potential strategies and lessons learned from less successful tactics. Moderator: David Longanecker, Executive Director, WICHE. Speakers: Matthew Kisber, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (invited)
Camille Preus-Braly, Commissioner, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development and WICHE Commissioner.

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

North Dakota's presentation

Concurrent Sessions

• North Dakota: Operation Intern
Increasing the percentage of graduates who are employed in North Dakota and increasing opportunities for North Dakota employers to recruit potential employees were two of the goals of the “Operation Internship” when it was created by the state legislature in the 2003 session. A collaborative effort involving the North Dakota University System, the Governor’s Office, Career and Technical Education, Job Service, the Workforce Development Division of the Department of Commerce, Human Resource Management Services, and the private sector, Operation Internship is a key strategy for economic development and supports the University System’s goal to play a larger role in enhancing the economic and social vitality of the state. Following a presentation on Operation Internship, participants will explore this and other higher education and workforce strategies that hold promise for strengthening economic development. Facilitator: Brian Prescott, Research Associate, WICHE. Resources: James Burgum, Program Coordinator, Office of the Governor of North Dakota; Edward Dunn, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning & Executive Director/College Technical Education Council, North Dakota University System.

• Montana: Setting a Leadership Agenda for Action
During the past year, the Montana Board of Regents has been exploring with various state agencies and organizations the need for the university system to take a more direct leadership role in the state’s economic development. Partners in this conversation have included the Legislative Services Division, the Legislative Fiscal Division, the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Governor’s Office, and others. The Board of Regents has taken a three-step approach: establishing a leadership group to provide oversight and direction as well as a project team to conduct policy research and develop recommendations and action plans; identifying a new role for the Montana University System in strengthening the state’s economy; and formally creating teams to develop specific recommendations for each initiative and implement the recommendations. This session will begin with a presentation on the Montana University System’s initiative and expand that discussion to examine the strengths and weakness of this and other approaches that unite education, business, and government around achieving state economic development goals. Facilitator: Cheryl Blanco, Director of Policy Analysis and Research, WICHE. Resource: Sheila Stearns, Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana University System and WICHE Commissioner.

• Georgia: Intellectual Capital Partnership Program
In 1995, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia created the Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) as the University System's economic development program. ICAPP connects the intellectual resources of Georgia's 34 public college and universities to the state's business community in innovative ways. ICAPP staff and a team of economic development leaders from each campus help Georgia businesses tap into the University System of Georgia for college-educated employees as well as access to the latest research, technology transfer, and business and operations advice. This session will feature a presentation about ICAPP as a prelude to a broader discussion of how this strategy works for states, higher education systems, institutions, and employers and the lessons learned during development, implementation, and day-to-day operations of approach. Facilitator: Patrick Kelly, Senior Associate, NCHEMS. Resource: Nancy Nolan, ICAPP Program Director, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Plenary Session: Meeting the Challenges of an Age-Diverse Workforce
The American workforce is a highly heterogeneous collection of individuals. The breadth of age diversity presents particular opportunities as well as challenges for higher education institutions in meeting state workforce and economic development needs. This panel will present various perspectives on how to ensure that the needs of young workers and adult workers are addressed and form an integral part of the dialog around higher education’s role in shaping state workforce and economic development. Moderator: James Sulton, Executive Director, Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board
Speakers: Pamela Tate, President, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Joni Finney, Vice President, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (invited).

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

• Shaping Financial Aid Programs to Meet State Workforce Needs
Workforce-contingent financial aid programs are significant financial assistance initiatives used by states to assist individuals with their education expenses in exchange for work in either specified fields or specified locations. A recent study of these financial aid programs found widespread use of the approaches in nearly all states, but very few evaluative studies that examined the financial aid or workforce impacts of the programs. Increased reliance on workforce-contingent aid programs as states seek alternatives to encourage enrollment in high-demand programs raises important questions about the efficacy, efficiency, and return on public investment. One of the authors of Workforce Contingent Financial Aid: How States Link Financial Aid to Employment will present findings from the study, and participants will join in an open discussion of the intended and unintended consequences of statewide incentives to link workforce preparation, higher education, and economic development and how these entities might collect and analyze information in order to evaluate workforce-contingent aid programs. Facilitator: Brian Prescott, Research Associate, WICHE. Resource: Rita Kirshstein, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research.

• Ensuring Academic Success for Low-Income Adults
Low-income adults are a vital part of the college student population and the workforce. These individuals possess unique characteristics, face significant challenges, and require greater attention and assistance than traditional students in higher education. The Center for Policy Analysis at the American Council on Education has been exploring ways to ensure academic success for low-income adults as part of a multifaceted project on “Improving Lives.” Two key resource developed for the project are a national profile of low-income adult students and an interactive policy Web site that allows searches of programs by jurisdiction (federal or state) and by program type. The site also features profiles of state and federal programs that offer significant educational benefits to low-income adults. The project director will describe how low-income adults differ from other students and discuss some of the findings on policies and programs that help low-income adults meet their educational goals. Facilitator: Cheryl Blanco, Director, Policy Analysis and Research, WICHE. Resource: Jacqueline King, Director, Center for Policy Analysis, American Council on Education

• A Regional Campaign to Increase Participation in Adult Learning in the South
Facilitator: Karen Paulson, Senior Associate, NCHEMS. Resource: Bruce Chaloux, Director of the Electronic Campus, Southern Regional Education Board.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Anthony Carnevale's presentation


Plenary Session: State Workforce Engines: What Will They Look Like and Who Will Fuel Them?
Moderator: Cheryl Blanco, Director, Policy Analysis and Research, WICHE. Speaker: Anthony Carnevale, National Center on Education and the Economy.

Friday, December 3, 2004

8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Arturo Perez's presentation


Plenary Session: The Road to Recovery Is Full of Potholes
This discussion will look at recent state fiscal trends. The presentation will include the latest reporting by the National Conference of State Legislatures on the fiscal health of the states and the potential for capturing state dollars for workforce and economic development investments. Moderator: Dennis Jones, President, NCHEMS. Speaker: Arturo Pérez, Program Principal, National Conference of State Legislatures.

10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Graham Toft's presentation


Plenary Session: Offshoring—What Does It Mean for Education, Training, and Economic Development?
A major challenge in the decade ahead is to determine what kinds of jobs states and the region should prepare for. With the increasing use of outsourcing of jobs and relocation of companies to other countries, states are hard pressed to understand how to attract and retain businesses and how to train people for their jobs. Policymakers, business leaders, and educators are highly concerned that offshoring and outsourcing will decimate their economies and their workforce. Estimates that 3.3 million service jobs could be moved offshore by 2015 have caused lawmakers in 35 states to introduce legislation to reduce the flow of jobs to lower-cost countries. This session will explore the implications of offshoring for higher education and economic development. Moderator: David Longanecker, Executive Director, WICHE. Speaker: Graham Toft, Senior Associate, Hudson Institute.

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.

Closing Comments and Adjournment


Increasing Access and Retention in Times of Limited Growth August 2004, Minneapolis, MN



Thursday, August 19, 2004

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Welcome and Meeting Overview

David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Larry Isaak, President, Midwestern Higher Education Compact

Cheryl Blanco, Senior Program Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Janet Holdsworth, Director of Policy Research, Midwestern Higher Education Compact

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

View from the States: Issues and Challenges Ahead

No one knows the issues and challenges facing individual states better than those working hard in the states to address them. This session will provide state teams with the opportunity to set the context for the meeting by sharing their unique circumstances, obstacles, and perspectives with individuals in other states with similar projections of stable or low growth.

Moderator: Demarée Michelau, Project Coordinator, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Cheryl Blanco's presentation

Changing Demographics and the Impact on State Higher Education

The demographic characteristics of the U.S. population document a significant shift in the makeup of the American family and thus the composition of our schools. In terms of the numbers of children, their racial/ethnic backgrounds, and their socioeconomic levels, graduates from the nation’s high schools reflect a far more complex and varied group than we have seen in the past. This session will draw on new projections of high school graduates produced by WICHE in Knocking at the College Door to explore some of the major findings related to high school graduates generally and to their racial/ethnic and family income characteristics. A discussion of implications for public policy among low-growth states will help inform conversations during the forum.  

Moderator: Senator Lana Oleen, Commission Chair, Midwestern Higher Education Compact, and Senate Majority Leader, State of Kansas

Speaker: Cheryl Blanco, Senior Program Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Dennis Jones' presentation

Retention and the Educational Pipeline: Increasing a State’s Educational Capital with Fewer Students

According to a recent report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, effective state education policies can increase student success at four key transition points—high school graduation, entry into higher education, persistence in higher education, and completing higher education. The educational pipeline, or integrated system of high schools, colleges, and universities within a state, can increase a state’s educational capital, but there is a unique challenge facing states with low growth. This session will address how to increase educational capital when there are fewer students in the educational pipeline.

Moderator: Jacqueline King, Director, Center for Policy Analysis, American Council on Education

Speaker: Dennis Jones, President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

John Gardner's presentation

Participation and Retention: Strategies That Work

Developing effective institutional participation and retention strategies will be critical for colleges and universities situated in states that are projected to experience a decline in high school graduates over the next decade. Aligning various state-level postsecondary policies that support these strategies will be essential to ensure participation through completion during this period of decline. This session includes a brief presentation of what research shows about retention, a national overview of state and institutional policies that can serve to enhance participation and retention, and a discussion of the federal role in promoting student persistence.

Moderator: Paul Lingenfelter, Executive Director, State Higher Education Executive Officers


John Gardner, Executive Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College

Jacqueline King, Director, Center for Policy Analysis, American Council on Education


Friday, August 20, 2004

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Jay Noren's presentation

How Financial Aid Policies Can Promote Participation, Articulation, and Retention

As states face limited growth, financial aid policies will increasingly serve as a key component of postsecondary participation strategies. While state and institutional sources of financial aid can significantly impact traditional student patterns of participation, persistence and completion, they also play a critical role in students’ ability to transfer among and between higher education systems and institutions. This session explores the latest trends in financial aid policies and their impact on articulation and transfer; particularly, for low-income students with high unmet need. It includes a presentation of Nebraska’s new tuition assistance program and how this program, which is designed to cover the costs of Pell grant recipients’ unmet need, may impact student transfer patterns in a time of limited growth.

Moderator: Demarée Michelau, Project Coordinator, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education


Cheryl Maplethorpe, Director, Financial Aid Division, Minnesota Higher Education Services Offices

Jay Noren, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Nebraska

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

David Longanecker's presentation

Increasing Participation Rates Through Regional Collaboration

A concern shared by states around the nation is capacity: some states have limited capacity to serve the increasing numbers of students seeking admission while others have capacity to spare. Helping states resolve their particular capacity problems while ensuring that needs of the students and the states are also met is an important part of the mission of regional organizations like MHEC and WICHE. Working closely with their members states, regional compacts have structured a variety of initiatives to increase participation rates. This session will include a conversation with the chief executives of MHEC and WICHE around existing opportunities and the potential for shaping new strategies for regional collaboration.


Sheila Stearns, Commissioner of Higher Education, Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education


David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Larry Isaak, President, Midwestern Higher Education Compact

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Plans Of Action: Where to Go From Here (An Open Discussion)

After nearly two days of exploring the ways in which states facing limited growth can increase access and retention, this session provides participants with an opportunity to dialogue about next steps—given their state’s unique political, social, economic, and cultural context—in developing effective policies and strategies that address these salient issues.


Janet Holdsworth, Director of Policy Research, Midwestern Higher Education Compact
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Closing Comments

David Longanecker, Executive Director, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Larry Isaak, President, Midwestern Higher Education Compact

Technical Assistance

Six states were selected under the current Ford grant to receive technical assistance from WICHE and its partners in order to strengthen the linkages between higher education and state workforce development goals, especially with respect to traditionally underrepresented groups.

South Dakota
  1. Press release announcing South Dakota’s participation

  2. Short report prepared for the November 16 Roundtable meeting, Pierre

  3. Final report prepared for the Board of Regents

  1. Press release announcing Hawaii’s participation

  2. Slide presentation prepared for December 1, 2006 Roundtable meeting, Honolulu

  3. Text of letter summarizing December 1 meeting (sent to all invitees) 

  1. Press release announcing Alaska ’s participation
  2. Slide presentation prepared for December 13, 2007 Rountable meeting, Anchorage





Commissioned Papers

The Emerging Policy Triangle: Economic Development, Workforce Development and Education May 2007
Updated Profiles for All 50 States and Including International Comparative Data
by Dennis Jones and Patrick Kelly, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

Ford/WICHE Fellows

This grant funded several individuals for appointments as Policy Fellows. The Fellows worked on individually designed research projects and received feedback from WICHE staff. The resulting papers were compiled into a single publication that is available for download.

The Fellows also participated in a meeting at WICHE’s offices in Boulder in April 2008. The agenda can be viewed here.

Additionally, the following links are a sample of work produced by Fellows who were funded under a related, previous Ford Foundation grant.

Vouchers in Public Higher Education: The Colorado Approach to Funding and Access

State Fiscal Crises and Cuts in Higher Education: The Implications for Access, Institutional Performance, and Strategic Reengineering

 Other Activities

Directory of Fellows and Associates in Higher Education and Public Policy