A Tale of Two Economies: 2016 Higher Education Legislative Activity in the West

2016 Policy Insights Cover
Year published: 
Month published: 
Media type: 
Number of pages: 
File size: 
237 KB
Print publication number : 

In 2016, there was an increasingly dramatic divergence between state economies in the West. Most states in the region benefited from an ongoing economic recovery, but states reliant on the energy sector for tax revenues were hit hard by the global decline in oil prices. This resulted in varying budget situations in legislatures across the West – outlined in this Policy Insights – with certain states dealing with significant cuts to higher education while others were in a position to make a wealth of new investments. Despite the region’s varied economic outlook, common themes did emerge. These included a focus on affordability and accelerated learning options, continued support of military-connected students, investing in evidence-based student success initiatives, and proposed solutions for addressing teacher shortages. The brief concludes with a section on issues to watch in the region, ranging from data privacy to guns on campus.