Policy Analysis and Research

WICHE Policy Analysis and Research Mission:

The Policy Analysis and Research unit offers a variety of policy and information resources to support better informed decision making, principally at the state level. The unit is involved in a number of research projects and collaborative initiatives that focus on college completion: adult learners; multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development; and other critical areas. WICHE staff serve as a useful resource on a number of higher education issues, including state and federal financial aid, finance, articulation and transfer, the Common Core State Standards, and various college completion initiatives. Its publication series, including Policy Insights and Western Policy Exchanges, explore a wide range of significant policy issues. The unit also undertakes major, long-term grant-funded projects, collaborates with other regional and national organizations, and provides short-term technical assistance to members.

  • A dozen years ago, David Longanecker wrote an article in Change, “A Tale of Two Pities,” that described the colliding perspectives of two communities—those who provide higher education and those who create and sustain the policy environment in which it functions. Each of these communities is committed to ensuring that Americans have broad ac- cess to high-quality postsecondary education. But each often perceives the other’s views and actions as antithetical to its own, thereby undercutting progress toward their shared goal.

    This article, with two knowledgeable and experienced coauthors, reviews the evolution of the “two pities” dynamic presented 12 years ago and describes the current situation. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

  • Benchmarks: WICHE Region reflects the most recent data available on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in and financing of higher education. The information is updated annually, to monitor change over time and and to inform discussion in policy and education communities.

  • Access

  • The WICHE Commissioners created the Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC) in 1995 to inform the Commission and staff about significant legislative issues related to higher education; provide input on WICHE initiatives; and advise staff on program considerations related to WICHE's policy workshops.

  • WICHE's electronic fact book, Policy Indicators for Higher Education: WICHE States, presents regional as well as state-by-state data with analyses on several fiscal, demographic, economic, and social indicators important to policymakers, educators, and researchers in the West. The indicators are updated periodically as new data become available.

  • Reports on tuition and mandatory fees at public institutions in the West, providing a state-by-state and institution-by-institution review of tuition changes for the current academic year, as well as those from one, five, and 10 years ago.

  • Reports on WICHE-sponsored meetings and discussions among the West's key leaders in higher education policy issues.

  • These reports summarize major policy areas with individual state information and alternative approaches to support informed policy discussions.