SHEEO Seeking State Policy Summer Interns for 2024

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is excited to announce an opportunity for students interested in higher education policy and governance, policy analysis, and research methods. SHEEO is seeking candidates for its paid State Policy Summer Internship for the summer of 2024.

This internship is ideal for motivated, active learners pursuing graduate study or a career in higher education, public policy, public administration, or related fields. Interns will have the opportunity to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule in either SHEEO’s Boulder, Colorado, or Washington, D.C., office.

Selected interns will collaborate with SHEEO on a variety of projects depending on their skills and interests. The internship duration is flexible, lasting approximately 10 to 14 weeks, beginning in May or early June. Interns will receive a living stipend for those relocating for the summer, and remote interns are invited to visit one of the two offices for a week-long stay at the beginning of their internship period. Interns will have the chance to attend and help host the SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., from August 5-8, 2024.

Interns will be engaged in diverse duties and responsibilities, including maintaining state policy and news inventories, conducting data analysis, generating website content, contributing to meeting agenda planning, drafting various publications, and completing an independent research project using SHEEO resources.

Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in higher education policy, a commitment to advancing equity and student success, experience with large quantitative datasets, proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and excellent written and oral communication skills. Interns are considered non-exempt employees and are expected to work a minimum of 25 hours per week, with schedules determined by mutual arrangement. This is a paid internship ($23 per hour).

The application deadline is March 1, 2024. Interested candidates are encouraged to review the full job listing and complete the application process.

SHEEO is dedicated to providing equal employment opportunities and believes that recruiting and developing a diverse and inclusive staff is essential to the organization’s success.

For more information about the State Policy Summer Internship program, please find the full job posting here.

Annual Grapevine Data show initial 10.2% increase in state support for higher education

Data reported by states in the latest Grapevine survey indicate that initially approved state support for higher education in fiscal year (FY) 2024 reached $126.5 billion, a 10.2% increase over 2023.[1] This is the third year state fiscal support for all higher education has topped $100 billion. This increase reflects a 36.5% increase over the past five years. Tax appropriations, non-tax support, non-appropriated support, and returns from state funded endowments make up total state support. The Grapevine report provides a first, tentative look at state higher education funding in the new fiscal year. However, an important caveat is that the Grapevine data do not account for inflation.[2]

Although states allocated 50.5% less federal funding to support higher education than in FY 2023, an additional $801.3 million in federal stimulus funding brings the total state fiscal support for higher education in FY 2024 to $127.3 billion.[3]  Since 2020, states allocated just under $10 billion in federal stimulus to higher education.

Grapevine data are collected annually by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). The FY 2024 data represent initial allocations and estimates reported by the states from October 2023 through January 2024 and are subject to change. 

Both including and excluding federal stimulus dollars, 19 states saw increases of at least 10% since 2023. Including federal stimulus, 10 states saw increases greater than 15%. Eight states saw increases greater than 15% without federal stimulus. 

Nine states and Washington, D.C., reported an overall decline in state support, including federal stimulus funding, between 2023 and 2024. Four states and Washington, D.C., had one-year declines excluding federal stimulus. Excluding federal stimulus funding, only two states (Alaska and Wyoming) had lower state support in 2024 than in 2019.

The Grapevine tables include data on how total higher education state support allocations were used across two-year public operating, four-year public operating, state financial aid, research, and other uses for FY 2024. While state allocations across each area are not final and include estimates for several states, initial appropriations to each area were as follows: 

  • $27.3 billion to two-year public operating.
  • $59.8 billion to four-year public operating.
  • $16.4 billion to state financial aid for all students. 
  • $16.8 billion to research, agriculture extension, hospital extension and medical schools.
  • $6.1 billion to other uses, including agency funding, private institution operations, and non-credit appropriations. 

The full Grapevine report, including tables summarizing the results of the FY 2024 Grapevine survey and a complete dataset of state support for higher education going back to 1980, can be found on the SHEEO State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) website at https://shef.sheeo.org/grapevine.


[1] FY 2024 marks the eighth year Grapevine has included Washington, D.C., in its survey. Washington, D.C., is excluded from all state counts and U.S. totals. The data reported by the District of Columbia, including federal stimulus funding, reveal an 8.9% decline in the last year and an 8.5% decrease in the last two years, but a five-year increase of 25.6%.

[2] While actual inflation data are not available for FY 2024, forecasts suggest the U.S. will face 2.8% inflation over FY 2024. Source: OECD Economic Outlook: Statistics and Projections, Inflation Forecast Indicator https://data.oecd.org/price/inflation-forecast.htm.

[3] Federal stimulus funding was awarded to states for higher education to stabilize state and local sources of funding, and to provide additional resources during COVID-19. Federal stimulus funding excludes funds allocated to public capital projects and any funds (such as HEERF) allocated directly by the federal government to institutions or students.

New Strong Foundations report and dashboards highlight state higher education data systems’ enduring value

For more than 50 years, state higher education agencies have used postsecondary student unit record systems (PSURSs) to inform policy and decision-making. Postsecondary student unit record systems are the primary means for states to collect data and analyze student progress, completions, and outcomes. In a survey to its members, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) asked state higher education agencies about their PSURSs, including the types of data they are collecting, their connections to other state agency data systems and state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs), and the value of those data to inform and improve state goals and student outcomes. The survey responses and analysis are outlined in a new Strong Foundations report and subsequent dashboards on the postsecondarydata.sheeo.org website.

In Strong Foundations 2023, SHEEO asked which state partner agencies their PSURSs data are linked to or shared with and what barriers and incentives exist related to that linking and sharing. As with prior years, state agencies reported a diversity of approaches to housing and sharing their postsecondary data. State agencies are collecting a variety of data elements from a variety of institutional types.

As expected, PSURSs connections with K-12 and workforce agency data systems are among the most reported connections; yet there are growing connections with other state agencies, including health and human services, foster care, and corrections agencies. The most reported barriers to efficient data sharing between agencies include data privacy concerns, coordination with other state authorities and administrators, lack of time for agency staff to link and analyze shared data, a lack of common identifiers and crosswalks, and a lack of fiscal resources. 

Forty-seven state agencies access workforce data elements, with the most common data elements collected including wages earned and employment year. Likewise, 44 state agencies access K-12 data elements, with district/school code, student race/ethnicity, and graduation date being the most common data elements. 

“State postsecondary data systems are vital for policymakers and researchers within state higher education agencies,” said Carrie Klein, associate vice president at SHEEO. “Results from our survey illustrate the deep value state agencies find in their PSURSs. As these systems and their connections continue to evolve and grow, agencies are identifying opportunities for improved insight into and support of student realities and outcomes.”

SHEEO also asked about data disaggregation and the collection of data elements, beyond traditional demographic data (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, and age), tied to access, opportunity, and success efforts. Results indicate that state agencies continue to employ PSURS data to gain greater insight into and support of their diverse student populations and that they are increasingly disaggregating race, ethnicity, and gender data beyond Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) categories. 

Among the new data elements SHEEO included for reporting this year are tribal affiliation, student parent/caregiver status, foster care status, refugee status, justice system involvement, and other data elements about historically underrepresented groups in higher education. 

A revamped website with new dashboards has been developed to help SHEEO members understand the survey results. Find the Strong Foundations 2023 report here, and visit https://postsecondarydata.sheeo.org/data/ to explore or download the data.

SHEEO seeks session proposals for 2024 Higher Education Policy Conference

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is pleased to host the 2024 Higher Education Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., August 5-8. The annual Policy Conference is the preeminent gathering of leaders from state higher education policy agencies, national higher education policy organizations, institutions, and state and federal governments.
 
The 2024 Higher Education Policy Conference solicitation for session proposals is now open. SHEEO seeks timely, thought-provoking proposals for sessions aligned with our organizational vision to promote an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring equitable education for all, regardless of racial/ethnic, gender, or socioeconomic factors. 

Proposals are due March 1 and can be submitted here: https://bit.ly/2024PCProposals
 
For additional information, please view this documentation. Questions may be directed to Alicia Engels, aengels@sheeo.org.

Economic and workforce development tops policy priorities for state higher education leaders in 2024

In a survey distributed in November 2023, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) asked state higher education leaders to identify their top policy issues going into 2024. States face a multitude of higher education policy issues each year, with some topics consistently among the top priorities for policymakers while others represent emerging public policy concerns driven by the current higher education landscape. SHEEO’s report details the top 10 state policy priorities for 2024 according to state higher education leaders. The report also includes additional honorary mentions—topics consistently making headlines and generating important conversations among the higher education community. 

Economic and workforce development ranked as the number one priority for the second year in a row among higher education leaders. Last year, economic and workforce development tied with K-12 teacher workforce as number one. This year, K-12 teacher workforce fell to number nine. Governors and legislators throughout the country are looking to the state’s higher education system to train and educate the future workforce. SHEEOs have worked closely with their state business communities to develop educational opportunities and financial aid programs linked to in-demand jobs in their states.

Ranking number two for 2024 policy priorities is state operating support for public colleges and universities, rising from number four. The budgetary news in many states remains positive heading into 2024 legislative sessions, with continued surpluses and robust reserve funds. The sustainability of these surpluses, however, remains an open question. Diminishing federal relief funds, combined with sharp state tax cuts and growing needs for investments across state governments will put pressure on many state budgets in the year ahead. While state operating support for public colleges and universities has increased in most states over the past two decades, state operating support decreased in more than half of all states from fiscal years 2020-2022, when adjusted for inflation.

Rounding out the top five priorities are (3) higher education’s value proposition, (4) college affordability, and (5) state funding for financial aid programs. All top five issues ranked within the top 10 in 2023. Other issues in the top 10 include (6) public perception of higher education, (7) college completion/student success, (8) enrollment declines, (9) K-12 teacher workforce, and (10) adult/nontraditional student success. Tied for eleventh are FAFSA completion and institutional accountability/effectiveness in higher education. Both issues were new to this year’s report due to current events and headlines. 

“While this isn’t an exhaustive list of issues states are facing, it is telling for policy priorities for the year ahead,” said Tom Harnisch, SHEEO’s vice president for government relations. “Politically, we anticipate higher education will continue to face questions over relevance and value, along with more bills and messaging on hot button issues heading into the 2024 election cycle.”

The full State Priorities for Higher Education in 2024 report can be found online at https://sheeo.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Policy-Issue-Survey.2024.pdf

ABOUT SHEEO: The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) serves the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education and their staffs. Founded in 1954, SHEEO is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2024. SHEEO promotes an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring the equitable education of all Americans, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic factors. Together with its members, SHEEO aims to achieve this vision by equipping state higher education executive officers and their staffs with the tools to effectively advance the value of higher education, promoting public policies and academic practices that enable all Americans to achieve success in the 21st century, and serving as an advocate for state higher education leadership.

New SHEEO report explores higher education executive officers’ views on college affordability and the role of a state-federal financing partnership

A new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) examines the views state higher education executives have on the federal government’s role in college affordability and policy proposals to make college tuition free. 

Growing concerns over student debt have led to a series of sweeping policy proposals from the higher education community over the last decade to align state and federal higher education financing policy. The existing framework, one in which states primarily subsidize institutions and the federal government primarily supports students, is increasingly seen as inadequate for making college affordable.

This new report includes results from interviews of state higher education executive officers (SHEEOs) and a survey of SHEEO membership. In their responses, SHEEOs expressed their concerns over college affordability but had a range of views on factors driving increased tuition prices, including inflation, labor costs, and declines in state subsidies.

SHEEOs welcomed greater coordination with the federal government through incentives and investments in state-driven college affordability plans, but federal tuition-free proposals received a mixed response. SHEEOs remain concerned about the sustainability of tuition-free programs and believe more targeted approaches, such as supporting need-based financial aid, could better withstand longer-term budgetary and political challenges. SHEEOs were also wary of burdensome federal mandates and would like flexibility in a partnership amid the wide variation in state political and economic contexts.

SHEEOs were generally in favor of some form of state-federal partnership to address college affordability. Seventy-four percent of surveyed participants wished to see greater coordination between the states and the federal government to make college more affordable.

“SHEEOs had differing thoughts on how a state-federal partnership should look,” said Tom Harnisch, SHEEO vice president for government affairs. “There was some consensus among participants that the ‘devil is in the details’ when it comes to states being incentivized to participate.”

Overall, SHEEOs’ perspectives shared concern for college affordability, the desire for a state-federal partnership that allows flexibility, and a preference for targeted tuition-free college policies over those open to all students.

Read the full report and learn more at https://sheeo.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/state-federal_partnership.pdf

West Virginia’s Sarah Tucker named SHEEO Executive Committee Chair

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker has been named the chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Executive Committee.

Dr. Tucker is Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Chancellor of the Community and Technical College System (CTCS). She is the first person to simultaneously hold these two roles – and the first woman to serve as CTCS Chancellor. 

Tucker previously served the SHEEO Executive Committee as treasurer during 2021-22, and chair-elect during 2022-23.

“It’s with great pleasure we announce Dr. Sarah Tucker as the executive committee chair,” said Dr. Robert Anderson, president of SHEEO. “Dr. Tucker has been a great thought-partner and colleague to SHEEO throughout her tenure in West Virginia. Her depth and breadth of experience will continue to serve our community well, and we are thrilled to work with her and our entire Executive Committee in service of our students.”

SHEEO, the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing boards and coordinating boards for postsecondary education, works to assist its members and states in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education. The Executive Committee is responsible for shaping SHEEO’s federal priorities and strategies and for leading its communications with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies. 

“I am honored to serve as the new executive committee chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “There are remarkable achievements happening across the country that are paving the way for more people to continue their education and succeed throughout their lives. By bringing state higher education leaders together around policies and strategy, SHEEO creates even more of these opportunities. At a time when education and training are more important than ever, I am looking forward to serving in this role to help advance higher education on a national stage and bring even more new ideas to West Virginia.”

Dr. Tucker became Interim Chancellor of HEPC in April 2019 and Chancellor in June 2020. Under her leadership, West Virginia adopted its first-ever statewide dual enrollment program, launching as a pilot in 2023 to provide free college courses for high school students across the state. Under her leadership as CTCS Chancellor since 2015, West Virginia has made enormous strides in taking community and technical education to the next level. A hallmark of her championship on behalf of West Virginia’s students was the State Legislature’s passage of a free community college bill in March 2019. As a result of her hard work and state leaders’ forward-looking investment, the WV Invests program now provides students with last-dollar-in grants that cover the full costs of tuition and fees at the state’s nine community and technical colleges.

The full SHEEO Executive Committee is as follows:

Officers:

Chair: Sarah Tucker, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Past Chair: Ben Cannon, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Chair Elect: Clayton T. Christian, Montana University System

Treasurer: Ginger Ostro, Illinois Board of Higher Education

Members:

Brian Bridges, New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Allison Garrett, Oklahoma State System of Higher Education

Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

Harrison Keller, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Chris Lowery, Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Dennis Olson, Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Noe Ortega, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

Aaron Thompson, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

SHEEO and CUNY|ASAP kickoff inaugural learning community with NYC convening

New York – Teams from five states came together this week with members of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) | Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE) National Replication Collaborative for the launch of a new college completion learning community. 

In early September, SHEEO and CUNY kicked off the new learning community, including five $50,000 state planning grants for Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington, to help states replicate a proven model for student success. The learning community will guide states in creating action plans to close equity gaps and increase college completion rates at their state’s community colleges. 

The convening, held Nov. 2-3, in Manhattan and on the campus of Borough of Manhattan Community College, provided an opportunity for peer networking and collective engagement in initial technical assistance activities to support strategic planning for state-scaled ASAP replication projects.

A fireside chat discussion held Thursday evening set the tone for the convening and the conversations to follow. CUNY Chancellor Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, The State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Dr. John B. King Jr., and Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges with the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, joined moderator Dr. John Lane, SHEEO vice president for academic affairs and equity initiatives, to discuss ASAP replication as an equity imperative. 

“CUNY’s successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs has been replicated by 14 institutions across seven states, a testament to the program’s ability to help students on a nationwide scale boost graduation rates and ultimately increase more students’ economic mobility,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “CUNY is pleased to work with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and other partners to replicate ASAP across five additional states and beyond, an effort that can be key to addressing the country’s persistent equity gaps in degree attainment rates.”

U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary James Kvaal gave a keynote address in support of completion and student success models like CUNY. Other sessions of the two-day convening focused on coalition building and making the return on investment case, aligning ASAP replication to state higher education priorities, planning for equity-based, state-scaled replication projects, and sustainable budgeting and productive funding models.

“State higher education leaders continue to identify completion as essential to statewide attainment goals, and CUNY ASAP’s strategies to improve completion, particularly among minoritized populations, will contribute to state planning to scale and sustain solutions,” said Dr. John Lane, SHEEO vice president for academic affairs and equity initiatives. “SHEEO is pleased to partner with the Accelerated Study in Associates Program and the states in the ASAP replication learning community to promote policies and practice that support student achievement through improved attainment.” 

The ASAP|ACE model was established by the CUNY system in 2007 and was designed to break down barriers to degree completion, particularly for CUNY’s low-income students. The model’s holistic, comprehensive suite of financial, academic, and personal services has served more than 88,000 CUNY students. The approach has been shown to more than double graduation rates for ASAP students over comparison groups in nearly every evaluation completed on the program. 

The SHEEO and CUNY College Completion Learning Community will continue to meet virtually through 2024 to establish a plan for next steps in initiating systems-scaled ASAP replication projects.For additional information, visit the SHEEO project website at
https://sheeo.org/project/asapcommunity/. To learn more about the CUNY|ASAP National Replication Collaborative, visit www.cuny.edu/asapreplication

SHEEO Communities of Practice: Exploring Multi-State and Multi-Sector Data Projects Call for State Teams

UPDATE: Deadline extended! States interested in participating should submit a letter of interest by November 27, 2023.

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is pleased to announce the next installment of its Communities of Practice project. This multifaceted project promotes the effective use of state postsecondary data systems and provides a forum for states to work on solutions to common issues with those systems. This work is funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

SHEEO will hold the next in an ongoing series of Communities of Practice convenings on February 7-8, 2024, in Alexandria, VA. The Communities of Practice convenings are a valuable opportunity for states to connect with their peers and reflect in-depth on the capacities, uses, and barriers to their data systems. This two-day meeting will provide an opportunity for state data practitioners, researchers, and policy analysts across P20W sectors to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with engaging in multi-state and multi-sector data projects. The convening will also launch an ongoing network for participants to share best practices and shared experiences and to workshop strategies and solutions with their counterparts in other states.

The Community of Practice will explore:

  • The value, opportunities, and challenges of sharing and using cross-state and cross-sector data.
  • Ways to build better connections between education and workforce data and to support improvedindividual and economic outcomes within and beyond state borders.
  • The necessary technical, legal, and personnel conditions to foster successful multi-state and multi-system data projects and outcomes.
  • Examples of current multi-state and multi-sector data projects focused on employment outcomes,prison to education pathways, veterans’ pathways, credentials of value, and other cross-state andcross-sector priorities.
  • How to cultivate relationships and communicate shared vision and success across states andsectors.

Participants will include teams from up to 15 states, SHEEO staff, BMGF staff, and subject-matter experts. State teams should be comprised of three to four members from K-12, postsecondary, or workforce sectors, with representation from at least two of these sectors, who are responsible for data systems, research, or policy analysis. The BMGF will defray all travel costs related to attending the convening.

States interested in participating should submit a letter of interest by November 20, 2023. Learn more about this Communities of Practice and how to submit a letter of interest here.

New SHEEO brief details national and state impacts of FAFSA Simplification

The changes mandated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act, passed in December 2020, represent a significant overhaul of the federal financial aid process. Through a grant-funded partnership between the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP), SHEEO used national- and state-level data to explore and assess how FAFSA simplification will affect specific states, sectors, and subpopulations of students, both in regard to Pell Grant eligibility/awards and state grant eligibility/awards, as well as the unintended consequences of the FAFSA Simplification Act. 

The FAFSA Simplification Act includes several positive factors that will expand access to federal financial aid. However, some changes to the federal methodology may shift a student’s eligibility in ways that are not yet known. At the state level, need-based financial aid programs are often directly connected to the federal financial aid process because they rely on data elements from the FAFSA and model their eligibility requirements on Pell eligibility.

SHEEO explored the changes in the Student Aid Index (SAI), the new formula for determining aid, and how it compares to the previous Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula. Crosstabulations were conducted for dependent students and independent students.

The results of this research suggest that at the national level, nearly 220,000 net students would gain Pell eligibility in 2023-24, equivalent to a net increase of over $617 million in Pell Grants. Coupled with the changes in Pell Grant awards for previously eligible students, total Pell Grant awards would be expected to increase by approximately $7.85 billion in 2023-24.

While most students will see expanded eligibility and award levels, some uncertainties remain. Students with more than one family member in college may experience increases in SAI relative to EFC, and corresponding decreases in Pell eligibility and award amounts. These students make up some of the approximately 56,600 students that are anticipated to lose Pell eligibility.

Simplification may also pose challenges for state grant programs. The results of this research at the national level suggest that many students will have lower expected out-of-pocket costs for postsecondary education as indicated by the lower SAI values relative to EFC. Pell Grants may fill a large portion of this additional need, but many students will have unmet financial need that can be fulfilled through state grants or federal loans. 

Read the full FAFSA Simplification brief online at https://sheeo.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/ImpactsofFAFSASimplification.pdf