WICHE’s Mission

WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life.

The Workplan: How WICHE Advances its Mission

The Workplan is implemented by staff who manage a vast array of programs, projects, and initiatives and develop valuable resources to address the needs of WICHE member states and territories. When appropriate, some initiatives also extend beyond the WICHE region. The operational units of WICHE are described below.

Programs and Services

The Programs and Services unit broadens student access to postsecondary education and fosters higher education collaborations that increase institutional effectiveness. The unit manages WICHE’s four student access programs and other regional initiatives, such as the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders and the Western Academic Leadership Forum, that help institutions and students save money and use resources wisely. The unit also oversees initiatives that bring together the West’s higher education leaders to address common goals and issues, streamlines the student transfer process through a nationwide network of Interstate Passport® institutions, and develops a new cadre of academic administrative leaders through the Western Academic Leadership Academy. In addition, the unit helps institutions achieve cost savings through programs in collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), which created and administers the programs.

Policy Analysis and Research

WICHE’s Policy Analysis and Research unit offers resources to support better-informed decision-making, principally at the state level. Topics for its numerous research projects and collaborations include postsecondary completion, closing attainment gaps, adult learners, and multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development. The unit’s staff members serve as subject-matter experts on higher education issues including finance, state and federal financial aid, articulation and transfer, strategic planning, and student demographics. Publications, including the WICHE Insights series, explore a range of significant policy issues. Unit staff members undertake long-term grant-funded projects, collaborate with regional and national partners, and provide short-term technical assistance to WICHE members.

Behavioral Health Program

WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program (BHP) provides technical assistance, education, consulting, and research services to strengthen behavioral health care in the West. Initiatives focus on analysis and growth of the behavioral health workforce, as well as overall improvements within the public mental health system. The BHP has a long history of providing mental health services in rural areas, and for providing training to support prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts throughout the West.


WCET – WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies is the leader in the practice, policy, & advocacy of digital learning in higher education. Its growing membership includes institutions, higher education agencies and systems, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in all U.S. states, and a few countries. WCET is widely recognized as one of the most informative, reliable, and forward-thinking organizations focused on the role of technology and innovation in higher education.

WICHE’s 5 Focus Areas

WICHE undertakes its work in five primary focus areas, identified and approved by the WICHE Commission in its annual Workplan:

  • Finance & Affordability: supporting the alignment of appropriations, tuition, and financial aid policy and practice at the institutional, state, and federal levels to increase postsecondary affordability
  • Access & Success: improving students’ access to and success in higher education, especially those who are traditionally underserved
  • Workforce & Society: collaborating across sectors to meet the region’s workforce and societal needs
  • Technology & Innovation: developing and supporting innovations in technology and beyond that improve the quality of postsecondary education and reduce costs
  • Accountability: striving to ensure that students receive an education that is valuable to them and that government is receiving a strong return on its investment