No Holding Back: Using Data to Review Administrative and/or Student Success Hold Policies among Public Postsecondary Institutions in the Western Region

Lumina Foundation and Ascendium Education Group have jointly awarded $452,500 in grants to WICHE and AACRAO to help institutions better understand the impact that the practice and policies of administrative and/or student success holds can have on student success. The project will collaboratively build upon existing work by AACRAO. Twelve postsecondary institutions in the WICHE region will be selected from a pool of applications to participate in a 15-month community of practice. Read the press release here. 

Request for Proposals Due June 22, 2022

WICHE and AACRAO are pleased to announce this Request for Proposals for the 2022 No Holding Back Community of Practice to use data to inform the review and revision of institutional administrative and/or student success hold policies that impact undergraduate, degree-seeking students.

We look forward to receiving your application, which can be accessed online, by noon MT on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.  

Please send any questions to Jenn Raby, jraby@wiche.edu. Questions may be submitted until June 8, 2022; responses to any question will be shared with all applicants by June 10, 2022 


 The goal of this project is to give institutions tools to (re)evaluate their administrative and/or student success hold policies to improve student success and to better use their data in policy formation. The selected institutions will participate in a community of practice over the course of 15 months and receive support from WICHE and AACRAO as they go through the exercise of collecting, cleaning, and analyzing administrative hold data and revising policies based on those findings. The selected institutions will participate in an in-person training in Boulder, Colorado at the start of the project beginning at noon on August 3, 2022 and ending at noon on August 4, 2022, and will meet virtually every quarter for two hours for the next year.  

Ultimately, two written works will come out of this project. WICHE will distill findings and lessons learned from this project in a seminal brief on the influence of policy on practice that includes qualitative findings from interviews and focus groups with students and administrative and business leaders from the participating institutions. AACRAO will develop a technical handbook that will allow other institutions to replicate the work. The technical handbook will focus on data identification, data cleaning, and analysis efforts.  In addition, it will aim to have data collection guidance for common student information systems. 

Who may apply

Institutions that are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum and Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders may apply. If your institution is not yet a member of the Forum or Alliance (as indicated on these linked webpages) but is interested in membership, please contact Jenn Raby jraby.@wiche.edu no later than June 10, 2022.  

Number of awards

12 institutions, with participants selected from both two- and four-year institutions that are members of the Alliance and Forum will be selected. Institutions must demonstrate the capacity and interest in providing the necessary data, analyzing institutional data and (re)evaluating current administrative and/or student success hold policies. Priority will be given to institutions with 40% or greater Pell-eligible enrollment though all Forum and Alliance members are encouraged to apply. 


 Institutions will receive a $7,500 stipend for participating; paid travel to attend the in-person training in Boulder, Colorado for up to 3 staff in early August 2022; technical support throughout the project; a community of practice with virtual quarterly meetings with other participating institutions and project staff; an opportunity to present findings at the Annual Meeting and in a virtual final convening open to the field. 

Institution Teams

 Participating institutions will be required to assemble a cross-unit team of 4-6 staff to support the project. Suggested team members include: the registrar, a member of the institutional research team, an IT analyst, a leader in the finance/student accounts team, a leader in student affairs, and an administrative champion. 

Key Participation Activities Timeline 

  • May 25, 2022 RFP announced at 12pm MT 
  • June 22, 2022 RFP closes at 12pm MT 
  • July 1, 2022 Selected institutions will be notified 
  • Aug. 3-4, 2022 Institutions participate in an in-person training in Boulder, CO to meet each other and project staff; hear from institutions who participated in the original AACRAO research study; learn best practices on collecting and analyzing administrative hold data; and share proposed goals and potential challenges with each other 
  • Aug. ‘22- Feb. 2023 Institutions will collect and analyze data with support from AACRAO 
    • Institutions will participate in Quarterly Call # 1: focus is on sharing updates related to data collection and analysis (November 2022) 
    • Institutions will participate in Quarterly Call # 2: the focus is on reviewing the data findings from the institutions and brainstorming and sharing ideas for how institutions might take this information back to campus and change institutional policies (February 2023) 
  • Mar – June 2023 Institutions will draft proposed changes to administrative hold policies 
    • Institution leadership and students will participate in focus groups and/or interviews with WICHE (March 2023) 
    • Institutions will participate in Quarterly Call #3: the focus is hearing how this work has influenced change at the participating institutions and discuss ways other institutions can learn from this work (June 2023) 
  • October 2023 Institutions participate in final convening (virtual) 



On May 18, 2022, WICHE hosted a webinar on the current state of administrative and student success holds.

It can be difficult to get the attention of a college student. Professors can always connect with students in class. However, advisors and administrators have few means to command attention, especially if calling, texting, emailing or using the postal service aren’t successful. The ability to use holds to prompt a student to take an action is one of the few resources in an institution’s toolkit. Recent research reveals the ubiquity of this practice, but also the limitations. Members of WICHE’s Western Academic Leadership Forum (Forum) and Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (Alliance) are invited to attend a one hour webinar to hear about the latest research on administrative holds policies and practices at the state, system, and institution-level from panelists from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Education Commission of the States (ECS), Ithaka S+R, and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Moderator: Sarah Leibrandt, Director of Academic Leadership Initiatives, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)

Panelists: Mary Fulton, Senior Policy Analyst, ECS; Wendy Kilgore, Director of Research, AACRAO; Bryan Dickson, Director of Student Financial Services and Educational Programs, NACUBO; James Ward, Ithaka S+R 

Contact WICHE staff

Sarah Leibrandt

Director, Academic Leadership Initiatives, Programs and Services



Jennifer Raby

Project Coordinator, Programs and Services