Equity in Excellence for Colorado's Future

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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.