Since 1959, Hawai‘i has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

* David Lassner

WICHE Commission Chair, President, University of Hawai'i

John Morton

Vice President Emeritus, University of Hawai'i Community Colleges

Colleen Sathre

Vice President Emeritus, University of Hawai'i

Legislative Advisory Committee

Aaron Ling Johanson

Representative, Hawai'i State Legislature

Michelle N. Kidani

Senator, Hawai'i State Legislature

Donna Mercado Kim

Senator, Hawai'i State Legislature

Gregg Takayama

Representative, Hawai'i State Legislature


Provides strong return on investment



  • 2,486 Hawai‘i residents saved $24.8 million in 2019-20 through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). These WICHE programs provide significant student savings on nonresident tuition at 170+ Western U.S. public colleges and universities.
  • In 2019-20, WICHE Student Access Programs provided Hawai‘i a remarkable 2,010 percent return on investment, relative to the state’s annual WICHE dues.
  • Hawai‘i students and their families have saved over $296 million since the state began participating in WUE.
  • The Master Property Program (MPP) helps institutions reduce their insurance premiums and improve their coverage. The MPP includes more than 170 campuses with total insured values of over $100 billion.

Helps Hawai‘i attract students from other states

WICHE maps highlighting Hawaii student migration
WICHE maps highlighting Hawai‘i student migration
  • WUE and WRGP incentivized 2,555 students this year to invest their tuition dollars in Hawai‘i.

Bolsters Hawai‘i’s health workforce

  • Through the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), students from Hawai‘i can enroll in participating programs in another state while receiving substantial tuition support. Currently, Hawai‘i supports students in dentistry, occupational therapy, optometry, physical therapy, and veterinary medicine.
  • WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program (BHP) has a number of projects in Hawai‘i that extend the state’s ability to serve residents. These projects include a review of the Hawai‘i State Hospital, a study of the Hawai‘i Adult Mental Health Services Division Medicaid reimbursement rates, as well as marketing, recruitment, screening, and referral services for behavioral health professionals to fill public school vacancies across the Hawai‘ian islands.
  • The BHP initiated and administers the Hawai‘i Psychology Internship Consortium, which prepares and retains high quality and culturally competent psychologists to provide collaborative public mental health care for the diverse children, adolescents, and adults of Hawai’i.

Helps Hawai‘i allocate resources efficiently with data and policy analysis

  • WICHE offers various data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making. WICHE’s research projects and collaborations cover postsecondary completion, closing attainment gaps, adult learners, and multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development.
  • WICHE staff serve as expert resources and provide technical assistance on finance, financial aid, articulation and transfer, strategic planning, student demographics, and more.
  • WICHE’s website features Benchmarks, an interactive dashboard featuring the most recent data available on the West’sprogress in improving access to, success in, and the financing of higher education, as well as other useful resources.
  • WICHE’s quadrennial Knocking at the College Door report is the foremost U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. An abundance of information can be found on the Knocking website, including publications and reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars and presentations, and the Hawai‘i’s state profile.

Fosters idea sharing

  • WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee provides valuable insights on trends and promising practices to Hawai‘i’s legislative leaders as they build partnerships with leaders in other Western states.
  • Three Hawai‘i institutions are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum), a consortium of academic officers at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral institutions and chief executives and academic officers for systems and state governing boards. Hawai‘i members include University of Hawai‘i System, University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, and University of Hawai‘i, West O‘ahu. Don Straney, University of Hawai‘i System, serves on the Forum executive committee. Academic leaders at community colleges (cc) and technical schools and at systems and state governing and coordinating boards associated with two-year institutions are members of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance). The Hawai‘i members of the Alliance are Hawai‘i Community College (CC), Honolulu CC, Kapi‘olani CC, Kaua‘i CC, Leeward CC, University of Hawai‘i Maui College, University of Hawai’i System, and Windward CC. Debora Halbert, University of Hawai‘i System, serves on the executive committee of the Alliance. Both the Forum and the Alliance exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise, and collaborate on regional initiatives.
  • Kapi‘olani Community College, and University of Hawai‘i System are all members of WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies), the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s growing membership includes almost 400 institutions, higher education agencies and systems, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in all U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Through its Frontiers blog, convenings, and active online discussions, WCET keeps members informed of the latest in policy change, regulations, and trends in educational technology. WCET also offers a host of resources related to educational technology and faculty support including advice and guidance for institutions on how to transition their face-to-face offerings to emergency online alternatives and how to increase quality in these courses over time.
  • The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary, state-led initiative designed to establish comparable standards for U.S. states and territories regulating postsecondary distance education. SARA expands access to postsecondary educational opportunities, while ensuring meaningful consumer protections for students and reducing regulatory red tape for institutions. WICHE is responsible for coordinating the membership of SARA states in the West through the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA).
  • At the outset of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, WICHE quickly reacted, shifted to remote work, and continues to advance our mission. WICHE is facilitating peer-to-peer videoconferences for higher education leaders to connect and identify solutions to common challenges, to follow legislation passed in response to the crisis, and to identifying emergency funding for students and higher education institutions. The WICHE BHP is hosting webinars that offer guidance to support the mental well-being of their students, and WCET is providing updates and resources to help institutions address issues that arise due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit WICHE’s COVID-19 resources page for up-to-date information.