Past Policy Initiatives
Enduring project impact
The Policy Analysis and Research unit has for decades undertaken major multi-partner initiatives on higher education themes that align with WICHE’s five primary focus areas: Finance and Affordability, Access and Success, Workforce and Society, Technology and Innovation, and Accountability.
Though operations and funding have concluded for some projects, many reports, networks, and work products from these projects remain relevant. Contact us for more information on prior WICHE initiatives, two of which are described below.
Adult College Completion Network
The Adult College Completion Network (ACCN), which concluded operations in 2016, united organizations and agencies working to increase college completion by adults with prior college credits but no degree in a collaborative learning network. The collaboration helped members to expand their knowledge, engage with one another, and explore new ideas and promising practices to better serve this population.
WICHE facilitated the work of the network with funding from Lumina Foundation from 2011 to 2016.
College Access Challenge Grant Consortium
WICHE’s College Access Regional (CAR) Network was a collaborative effort that brought together state projects focused on increasing postsecondary access and success for low-income students. The CAR Network began as an effort to spur collaboration between states receiving the federal College Access Challenge Grant (CACG), funding aimed at increasing the number of low-income students who enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. In 2012, WICHE expanded eligibility for the network to include other large-scale programs focused on similar goals. As part of this effort, WICHE worked with state partners through two mechanisms: the College Access Challenge Grant Consortium, and the College Access Regional (CAR) Network. While the level of WICHE-related services differed, both options allowed state teams the opportunity to learn from each other, share best practices and lessons learned, and receive current evidence-based research.
The CACG Consortium was comprised of Alaska and Idaho. WICHE-related services to the consortium states included grant development and management, program implementation and evaluation, and ongoing expert consultation and guidance. Consortium states were also members of the CAR Network.
In the CAR Network, WICHE worked with the two CACG Consortium states, plus North Dakota and Utah, to provide a forum in which staff involved in developing, implementing, and maintaining state access and success programs for low-income students shared and discussed issues related to the administration of their programs. Through two network meetings and an interactive website, state leaders and policymakers shared promising practices, lessons learned, common challenges, and the latest research.
Non-Traditional No More
Non-traditional No More , a WICHE project supported by funding from Lumina Foundation for Education, is working with Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota to identify their “ready adult” population – those adults who are close to having enough credits to obtain a degree but have not yet returned to college.
Task Force on Closing Postsecondary Attainment Gaps
The goal of the WICHE Task Force was to catalyze state-level progress in closing postsecondary attainment gaps. With funding from Lumina Foundation, WICHE convened the Task Force of cross-sector state teams to address their states’ most pressing disparities in credential attainment and to jointly develop regional recommendations for the West.
The Task Force held three interstate meetings between 2018 and 2020, bringing together state team members with subject-matter experts to examine state data, craft and refine state-level approaches to addressing identified attainment gaps, and to share lessons learned. During the final year of the project, the Task Force focused on developing broadly applicable recommendations, as well as responding to COVID-19 with an equity lens.