WICHE Receives New Funding to Expand the Interstate Passport Network

  • Year Published : 2021
  • Month Published : January
ECMC Foundation awards $500,000 grant to expand participation among Minority Serving Institutions in the Interstate Passport® Network


BOULDER, Colo. – The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from ECMC Foundation to support efforts to scale participation in the Interstate Passport Network.

The Interstate Passport enables block transfer of lower-division general education requirements based on learning outcomes rather than specific courses and credits. Students who achieve these outcomes earn a Passport. Earning a Passport means that students will meet all lower-division general education requirements of all other Network member institutions to which they are admitted. This can help reduce credit loss, save students time and money, and increase their chances of graduating. Currently, 59 institutions across 17 states participate in the Interstate Passport Network. As of May 31, 2020, 49,069 Passports have been awarded.

The two-year grant from ECMC Foundation will enable staff to recruit and enroll 20 additional member institutions in the Interstate Passport Network, including at least 10 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI). The grant will support two-year membership fee waivers for the 20 new member institutions and allow staff to expand capacity to support new member institutions through the implementation process and ongoing administration.

Already, four institutions, two of which are MSIs, have signed letters of intent to join the Passport Network with support from this grant:

  • Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina;
  • Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida;
  • Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and
  • Texas A & M University – Central Texas in Killeen, Texas.

The funding from ECMC Foundation comes as part of their Catalyzing Transfer Initiative. WICHE is excited to collaborate with the other grantees in building, managing, and activating new ways to increase successful transfer and timely bachelor degree completion.

“It is a crucial time for states and postsecondary institutions to focus on streamlining transfer. In the next year and beyond, thousands of students will stop out or drop out. When they return to school, they need to know that they can pick up where they left off,” says Anna Galas, director, Academic Leadership Initiatives, WICHE. “Students need our help now. The ECMC Foundation Catalyzing Transfer Initiative responds to this challenge. Reforming transfer is a social imperative for our nation and will increase student success and academic completion, particularly for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.”

Growing the Interstate Passport Network with support from the ECMC Foundation grant will mean that these students will benefit as we continue to build the interstate transfer highway across the nation. “WICHE’s work on the Interstate Passport Network advances the Catalyzing Transfer Initiative’s goal to increase successful transfer and timely bachelor degree completion among marginalized groups,” said Sarah Belnick, Senior Program Director of College Success at ECMC Foundation. “Their partnership enables us to influence multiple aspects of transfer reform and ensure improved transfer pathways for all students.”

If your institution is interested in joining us or you would like to see particular MSIs or other institutions join the Network to support student transfer in and out of your institution, please contact Interstate Passport Program Manager, Sarah Leibrandt (sleibrandt@wiche.edu).


Interstate Passport is a program based at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) that enables block transfer of lower-division general education requirements based on faculty-developed learning outcomes among participating institutionally accredited two-year and four-year colleges and universities nationwide. After years of research and development, the Interstate Passport Network, whose membership includes non-profit public and private colleges and universities, was launched in July 2016. In its first four years of operation, membership has grown to 59 institutions in 17 states, and Network member institutions have awarded 49,069 Passports to students.


Since 1953, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has been strengthening higher education, workforce development, and behavioral health throughout the region. As an interstate compact, WICHE partners with states, territories, and postsecondary institutions to share knowledge, create resources, and develop innovative solutions that address some of our society’s most pressing needs. From promoting high-quality, affordable postsecondary education to helping states get the most from their technology investments and addressing behavioral health challenges, WICHE improves lives across the West through innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy.


ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential.

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