The New SwiftStudent Tool: Help for Guiding Students Through Financial Aid Appeals Webinar

This webinar provides an overview of the new SwiftStudent digital tool, a free resource designed to help college students through the formal process of requesting additional financial aid when their economic circumstances have changed. SwiftStudent was created by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation in partnership with 18 higher education organizations.

Public Funding for Higher Education Call for Papers

Convening Date: November 4 – 6, 2020

Proposals Due: May 4, 2020

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (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. In line with this mission, SHEEO is hosting a convening on the public funding of higher education in November 2020.

Recent trends in state support for higher education indicate that states have failed to recover funding for higher education since the Great Recession. After more than $2,000 in per-student funding reductions during the Great Recession, per-student educational appropriations in 2018 were $7,853, roughly $1,000 below their pre-recession level.[1] Ten years out from the start of the Great Recession, per-student higher education appropriations in the U.S. have only halfway recovered, and state funding for general operations failed to keep up with inflation for the first time since 2012. However, state student financial aid has increased steadily and is now at an all-time high. While the increase in student financial aid is to be celebrated, the weak recovery of and relatively low levels of state higher education appropriations is concerning. General operating appropriations are a critical resource relied upon by public institutions to fund the education and direct services students receive. This general institutional funding is directly tied to what students learn, and experience, and, as recent research has shown,[2] impacts the likelihood of their successful completion.

SHEEO is issuing this Call for Papers for research on the impacts of public funding on student and institutional outcomes. Analyses of the specific effects of general operating appropriations or state financial aid are encouraged.

With generous support from the Joyce Foundation, SHEEO will cover travel costs for researchers and analysts studying or evaluating the public funding of higher education to present their work at our convening in Boulder, Colorado, in November 2020. The convening will bring together a diverse array of participants, including state agency staff, policymakers, intermediary staff, and higher education researchers, to facilitate conversation amongst stakeholders who can advance the findings from the papers presented into action.

Submissions

Those interested in attending should submit a single-spaced Word or PDF document, not to exceed 1,000 words. The proposal should include information on the purpose of the study, research questions addressed, research methodology employed, preliminary findings (if available), and the potential significance for policy and practice. Please use 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Additionally, the proposal should include a works cited page and a 1-page CV for each author, neither of which count against the 1,000-word limit. Authors are encouraged to submit proposals for unfinished manuscripts, though authors with shareable working papers may also upload a copy.

Please submit your proposal by uploading all relevant documents to the proposal website by 11:59 p.m. MT on May 4, 2020.

Timeline

Date Task
May 4, 2020 Proposals due to SHEEO
May 25, 2020 Notification of acceptance
October 21, 2020 Final paper due to SHEEO
November 2, 2020 Final presentation due to SHEEO
November 4-6, 2020 Convening in Boulder, CO

SHEEO encourages quantitative and qualitative proposals, and both empirical and applied work, for this convening. For those wanting to make use of quantitative data on state support of higher education, SHEEO will assist researchers in accessing and utilizing our State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) data. You can learn more about those data on the SHEF webpage. If you have questions about the SHEF data or need access to additional data elements that are not available online, please contact Sophia Laderman at sladerman@sheeo.org.

If you have any questions regarding the content of your proposal or the timeline for the convening, please reach out to Dr. David Tandberg at dtandberg@sheeo.org. Any questions regarding the submission process or the submission website should be directed to Caitlin Dennis at cdennis@sheeo.org.


[1] This is part of a longer trend – appropriations per student are $2000 below 2001, before the dot-com bubble. See www.sheeo.org/shef

[2] Bound, J., Braga, B., Khanna, G., & Turner, S. (2019). Public universities: The supply side of building a skilled workforce. NBER Working Paper 25945; Deming, D. J. and C. R. Walters (2018). The Impact of State Budget Cuts on U.S. Postsecondary Attainment. Working paper. https://eml.berkeley.edu//~crwalters/papers/deming_walters.pdf

Update on COVID-19

SHEEO is monitoring the evolving situation pertaining to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and will share guidance and updates from federal agencies and national health authorities as we receive them. The following guidance has been issued to the higher education community thus far:  

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released interim guidance for administrators of colleges and universities in planning and preparing for COVID-19, along with recommended response measures for those with the virus in their community.
  • The CDC has also released guidance for institutions of higher education (IHEs) related to foreign travel. The CDC has asked IHEs to consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs and recommends IHEs consider asking current program participants to return to their home country, as well as asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States. The CDC recommends that IHEs consult with state and local health authorities on the best approach for when and how study abroad students might return. 
  • The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance related to compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) for those that are impacted by COVID-19. The Department’s guidance offers flexibility under its existing authority to help IHEs continue to serve students.

Other resources include: 

  • The U.S. Department of Education has a website with information related to COVID-19. 
  • The American College Health Association has issued a document on what campuses need to know about COVID-19, as well as guidelines for campus health staff and administrators preparing for COVID-19.


As the U.S. Department of Education has offered flexibility to IHEs, we encourage our members to consider whether they may need to offer similar flexibility related to their own statutory and regulatory requirements so that their IHEs can remain compliant and continue to serve students.  

Lastly, if there are federal policy challenges your state or institutions are encountering about COVID-19 (such as authorization and distance education), please contact Tom Harnisch, vice president for government relations, at tharnisch@sheeo.org. Congress is currently exploring legislative responses to meet immediate and longer-term needs.

If you have any other questions or concerns related to COVID-19 and higher education, please feel free to contact Rob Anderson, president, at randerson@sheeo.org.

States Leading for Equity: Profiles of Action Webinar Recording

Webinar Overview: This webinar will profile ongoing statewide efforts to advance educational equity in higher education throughout Minnesota. The state legislature and the Office of Higher Education have outlined broad attainment goals across all demographic groups in Minnesota. In June 2019, Minnesota State launched Equity 2030 with the goal to close all educational equity gaps at all 37 colleges and universities. Prioritizing partnerships across stakeholder groups and leading with an equity-minded strategy, the system has focused attention on academic equity strategies, target setting, and data-informed decision making to support this work. As capacity is an essential component in advancing equity strategy, this webinar will focus on the strategic efforts of the Office of Higher Education and Minnesota State to undertake this work.

SHEEO Releases 2020 Membership Report

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has released our 2020 SHEEO Membership Report (previously named the SHEEO Salary Survey).

The 2020 SHEEO Membership Report marks the reinvention of the Salary Survey to reflect the organization’s strategic plan by providing new insight into SHEEO agency characteristics and functions. The report brings together SHEEO agency budget information, full-time equivalent staff numbers and demographics, and key agency functions to provide a comprehensive perspective of the scope of work SHEEO agencies perform and how SHEEO agencies operate.   


SHEEO Agency Characteristics

The median full-time equivalent staff (FTE) for SHEEO agencies is 60 FTE, with the median for coordinating boards at 55.8 FTE, and governing boards at 65 FTE. The median operating budget for SHEEO agencies is $9,622,300; coordinating boards have a median operating budget of $7,626,400 compared to the median governing board operating budget of $12,616,910. Other key takeaways from the Membership Report are that SHEEO agencies are predominately white (57%), a majority of SHEEO agency employees identify as women (51.78%), 36.02% identify as male, and 12.2% of SHEEO agency staff’s gender was noted as unknown/unreported. 


SHEEO Agency Functions

SHEEO membership agencies perform a variety of functions. On average, they perform 21 functions, with coordinating boards performing 18.5 functions and governing boards performing 25. The main functions performed by both coordinating and governing boards are maintaining, collecting, and reporting data; research and policy evaluation; and coordinating with departments of labor, workforce, and/or economic development. The report contains a full listing of SHEEO agency functions and the number and percentage of SHEEO agencies performing each function broken down by coordinating boards and governing boards.


Importance of these Data

SHEEO agencies will be able to use these data to understand their resources, staffing, and functions relative to their peer agencies. These data are also critical to SHEEO’s mission and strategic plan and will help SHEEO in supporting and guiding SHEEO agencies. SHEEO will use the data to understand SHEEO agencies better and to study other topics relevant to our membership. Finally, these data provide a clearer picture of the racial equity and diversity challenges agencies face and highlight the need for SHEEO to support our membership in the essential work of meeting those challenges.


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 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.

SHEEO Welcomes Molly Hall-Martin as Summer Intern

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) welcomes Molly Hall-Martin as our next summer intern.

As SHEEO’s summer intern, Hall-Martin will work on research projects meant to help state policymakers improve student outcomes and advance equity and income mobility. She will also assist SHEEO in our efforts to better translate research for a policy audience.

Molly Hall-Martin

Molly Hall-Martin (Lower Brule Sioux) is a second year Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on the interplay between state and federal governments as well as relationships between state higher education agencies, tribal colleges & universities (TCUs), and tribal governments. Before enrolling at the University of Iowa, Hall-Martin served as the director of student preparation and success for the South Dakota Board of Regents, where she worked with campus and community partners to increase the number of American Indian and underrepresented students enrolling in postsecondary education. She was the state program coordinator for South Dakota College Application Week and served on numerous statewide committees. She also previously worked for Lower Brule Community College (LBCC), a tribal college located in South Dakota. There she coordinated the tribe’s Higher Education and Adult Vocational Technical grant programs and LBCC’s GED program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she hopes to work with state higher education agencies in some capacity, either as a staff member or with an organization that interacts with state agencies.

ABOUT THE STATE HIGHER EDUCATION EXECUTIVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, a liaison between states and the federal government, and a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers. SHEEO also serves as a manager of multistate teams and as a source of information and analysis on education and public policy issues. Together with its members, SHEEO advances public policies and academic practices that enable Americans to attain education beyond high school and achieve success in the 21st century economy.

SHEEO Welcomes Dr. Tom Harnisch as Vice President for Government Relations

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) welcomes Dr. Tom Harnisch as our new vice president for government relations.

As vice president for government relations, Dr. Harnisch will be located in Washington, D.C., and his primary leadership responsibility will be for planning, implementing, and coordinating SHEEO’s portfolio of federal relations, policy, communication, and advocacy work. This position will monitor new and potential federal action (legislation, rules, and other policies and actions) that have relevance to our membership. The vice president for government relations will also be responsible for bringing these issues to the attention of SHEEO staff and SHEEO’s membership and for articulating their potential impact on our members and the institutions and students they serve.

Tom Harnisch

From 2007 to 2019, Dr. Harnisch worked in a series of roles at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), including as director of state relations and policy analysis. In his role at AASCU, his roles included policy research, analysis, and communication to the AASCU membership and other external stakeholder groups. He helped craft the AASCU Public Policy Agenda and planned the Higher Education Government Relations Conference. His research interests and commentary on higher education finance, access, affordability, and other topics have been cited in over 200 articles, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, Politico, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University and The George Washington University. 

“We are excited to have Tom join us at SHEEO,” said Rob Anderson, SHEEO president. “His vast experience will serve our states by amplifying their voice and ensuring greater coordination between federal and state policies, which will allow us to meet the needs of our students in the most effective manner possible.” 

ABOUT THE STATE HIGHER EDUCATION EXECUTIVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, a liaison between states and the federal government, and a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers. SHEEO also serves as a manager of multistate teams and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. Together with its members, SHEEO advances public policies and academic practices that enable Americans to attain education beyond high school and achieve success in the 21st century economy.

Annual Grapevine Compilation of State Fiscal Support for Higher Education Results for Fiscal Year 2020

A project of the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)

Contact:  Jim Palmer, Editor, Grapevine
Center for the Study of Education Policy, Illinois State University
(309) 438-2041; jcpalmer@ilstu.edu

Data reported by the states in the latest Grapevine survey (Tables 1 and 2, attached) indicate that initially-approved state fiscal support for higher education in fiscal year 2019-2020 (FY20) totaled approximately $96.6 billion, a 5.0% increase nationwide from fiscal year 2018-2019 (FY19). This is the highest annual increase since Fiscal Year 2014-15 (FY15) and continues a trend of annual increases over the past six years (see chart at right).

In contrast to the relatively high number of states reporting annual reductions in funding from FY15 through FY18, only three states reported funding declines between FY19 and FY20.  Alaska sustained an 11.2% decrease, the result of a gubernatorial decision to substantially reduce funding to the University of Alaska system over the next three years.  Hawaii and New York reported much smaller declines of 2.2% and 0.3%, respectively. Each of these states had previously met or exceeded their pre-recession (FY08) levels of state support.

Of the remaining 47 states, 24 reported increases from FY19 to FY20 ranging from 0.7% (Kentucky and North Carolina) to 4.8% (Georgia and Massachusetts), and 23 reported increases ranging from 5.0% (South Dakota) to 11.4% (Colorado).  Increases in five states—California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, and Tennessee—accounted for approximately half (49.8%) of the total national increase in state funding for higher education between FY19 and FY20. Funding increases in each of these five states ranged from $189.2 million in Tennessee to $1.06 billion in California. Together, these five states increased funding for their higher education systems by 7.3%, while the remaining 42 states collectively increased funding by 4.4%.

Two-Year and Five-Year Trends

Over the longer term, total FY20 appropriations to higher education nationwide are 9.5% higher than funding made available two years ago in FY18. Sixteen states reported two-year gains of 10% or more, ranging from 10.0% in Kansas to 23.7% in Colorado. In addition, another 32 states registered two-year increases ranging from 2.7% in Vermont to 9.4% in New Mexico. Only two states reported that they were operating with levels of state fiscal support in FY20 that are lower than the fiscal support available two years ago in FY18:  Alaska, which reported a 9.1% decline from FY18 to FY20, and Kentucky, which reported a two-year decline of 1.7%. Note that the Grapevine data are not adjusted for inflation.

In terms of five-year trends, state support for higher education increased nationwide by 18.8% from FY15 to FY20. Sixteen states reported five-year increases of 20% or more, ranging from 20.3% in New Jersey to 43.9% in Nevada. Another 29 registered five-year gains ranging from 0.5% in Iowa to 18.6% in Maryland.  But five states reported five-year decreases ranging from 1.9% in Kentucky to 21.9% in Alaska.

These longer-term trends reflect a more favorable picture than findings for previous years (see table to the right).  In FY18, higher education systems in 16 states operated at levels of fiscal support that were below the levels of support available two years earlier in FY16, and in 10 states, higher education funding was less than the funding available five years previously in FY13. In FY19, 12 states operated at levels of state funding that were below the funding appropriated two years earlier in FY17, and nine states operated at levels of funding that were below the monies available five years previously in FY14.  

Overall, the results of the FY20 Grapevine survey document continued increases, albeit at modest levels, in higher education funding across most states. It is important to note that the Grapevine data alone do not provide the contextual information needed to compare or rank states in terms of the fiscal health of their higher education systems. For example, although Illinois reported a relatively large (9.8%) funding increase between FY19 and FY20, 66% of that increase represented monies appropriated to strengthen the state’s badly underfunded college and university pension system and were not used to fund instruction for students at higher education institutions directly. Also, the increase reported by Illinois between FY19 and FY20 follows a period of funding declines in previous years, as evidenced by the relatively low five-year increase of 4.8% between FY15 and FY20. These are the sorts of nuances that Grapevine data do not capture.  

Other Jurisdictions

FY20 marks the fourth year Grapevine has included Washington, D.C., in its survey. The data reported by the District of Columbia exclude federal appropriations and reveal one-year, two-year, and five-year gains in local tax support of 3.4%, 15.5%, and 22.9%, respectively. 

About Grapevine

Grapevine data are collected annually as a joint project of the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). Tables summarizing the results of the FY20 Grapevine survey—as well as annual Grapevine reports going back to fiscal year 1961—can be found at the Grapevine website: https://education.illinoisstate.edu/grapevine/.

In addition to data on state fiscal support for higher education by state, Grapevine tables also detail regional variations in state fiscal support and note trends in state fiscal support per capita and per $1,000 in personal income.

The FY20 data were collected by Sophia Laderman of SHEEO, employing an instrument that consolidates the Grapevine survey with the annual survey used by SHEEO in its State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) project. Data from the Grapevine component of this consolidated instrument were sent to Illinois State University for analysis.

The Grapevine report intends to provide a first, tentative look at state higher education funding in the new fiscal year. The FY20 data represent initial allocations and estimates that are subject to change. SHEEO’s annual SHEF report focuses on the most recently completed fiscal year and offers a more complete examination of trends in total state support for higher education, factoring in enrollment, tuition, and inflation (among other variables). The SHEF report for FY19 will be released this spring by SHEEO.

Grapevine data include both tax and nontax state support for the operation of institutions of higher education as well as for other higher education activities (before the survey for FY10, Grapevine surveys asked for data on state tax appropriations only). States were asked to provide data for the new fiscal year (2020) as well as revisions (if necessary) to data on file for previous fiscal years. In addition to data on funding for four-year colleges and universities, instructions asked states to include:

  • sums appropriated for state aid to local public community colleges, for the operation of state-supported community colleges, and for vocational-technical two-year colleges or institutes that are predominantly for high school graduates and adult students;
  • sums appropriated to statewide coordinating boards or governing boards, either for board expenses or for allocation by the board to other institutions or both;
  • sums appropriated for state scholarships or other student financial aid;
  • sums destined for higher education but appropriated to some other state agency (as in the case of funds intended for faculty fringe benefits that are appropriated to the state treasurer and disbursed by that office); and
  • appropriations directed to private institutions of higher education at all levels.

States were asked to exclude appropriations for capital outlays and debt service, as well as appropriations of sums derived from federal sources (except for ARRA monies), student fees, and auxiliary enterprises.

Different practices among the 50 states make it impossible to eliminate all inconsistencies or to ensure absolute comparability among states and institutions. In addition, the annual percent changes recorded for each state do not necessarily reflect the annual percent changes in funding for individual institutions within states.

SHEEO Position Announcement: Vice President of Federal Relations

Position located in Washington, D.C.

Overview:

SHEEO seeks to fill the position of vice president of federal relations. SHEEO is the national association of state higher education leaders who serve statewide coordinating and governing boards and other state higher education agencies. SHEEO responds to the changing needs of its members and the state higher education community and regularly pursues new projects that meet our members’ needs and align with the mission of the organization.

The vice president of federal relations will report directly to the president and will hold primary leadership responsibility for planning, implementing, and coordinating SHEEO’s portfolio of federal relations, policy, communication, and advocacy work. This position will monitor new and potential federal action (legislation, rules, and other policies and actions) that have relevance to our membership. The vice president of federal relations will be responsible for bringing these issues to the attention of SHEEO staff and SHEEO’s membership and for articulating their potential impact on our members and the institutions and students they serve. This is a new position; SHEEO has not previously maintained a permanent presence in Washington, D.C. The successful candidate will help develop SHEEO’s portfolio of work in Washington.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Make SHEEO’s leadership aware of new and potential federal action and its impact on our membership.
  • Represent the interests of SHEEO’s members to federal policymakers.
  • Draft monthly federal updates.
  • Plan for, organize, and lead SHEEO leadership and/or membership visits to lawmakers’ and other policymakers’ offices.
  • Plan for, organize, and lead any federal advocacy in which SHEEO decides to engage.
  • Assist the president in developing and communicating SHEEO positions on new or potential federal actions.
  • Serve as liaison between SHEEO and the various Washington, D.C. higher education associations, advocacy groups, think tanks, and foundations.
  • Serve on a variety of leadership groups and teams within SHEEO.
  • Advise and provide support to the SHEEO president, particularly about matters related to federal policy.
  • Plan and implement federal policy projects which support the SHEEO mission, strategic priorities, and the needs of SHEEO members.
  • Conduct or direct research and policy analysis on federal higher education public policy.
  • Develop and maintain knowledge regarding current activities and future trends in public higher education.
  • Manage a portfolio of grant-funded projects. Maintain relationships with funders and seek diversified funding sources.   
  • May provide supervision or direction to other SHEEO staff.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:

  • An earned doctoral degree plus at least seven years of progressively responsible leadership experience.
  • Additional experience in higher education may substitute for the doctoral degree.
  • Expertise in the federal policymaking process and ability to analyze and interpret federal legislation and agency rules.
  • Experience working in Washington, D.C. and evidence of existing relationships with federal actors (House and Senate committee staff, U.S. Department of Education staff, higher education association leadership, etc.).
  • Experience and analytical expertise in one or more of the following areas related to postsecondary education: academic affairs, data systems, equity, finance, institutional research, and/or student success.
  • Demonstrated ability to obtain outside funding for special projects.
  • Knowledge of or experience with SHEEO agencies.
  • Record of publication in state higher education policy, public policy, or social science.
  • Skill in project management.
  • Skill in supervisory practices and techniques.
  • Fluency in statistics, data visualization, or other specialized skills.

Working Conditions:

This position will be in Washington, D.C. Periodic travel to SHEEO’s headquarters in Boulder, CO, and other national travel will be required.

Salary:

Salary will be commensurate with successful candidate’s experience and demonstrated skill level. SHEEO provides excellent staff benefits.

Application Process:

Please apply by email to: Christina Whitfield at CWhitfield@sheeo.org and include the following:

  • Letter describing how you meet the requirements of the position, addressed to Christina Whitfield, SHEEO, 3035 Center Green Drive, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Names and contact information of three academic or professional references (References will not be contacted until you have given permission for us to do so.)

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. However, priority will be given to those applications received by November 29, 2019.

About SHEEO:

SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, as a liaison between states and the federal government, as a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers, and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. SHEEO seeks to advance public policies and educational practices to achieve more widespread access and successful participation in higher education, more new discoveries through research, and more applications of knowledge that improve the quality of human lives.

SHEEO is particularly interested in providing equal employment opportunities and employing a diverse staff. Read more about SHEEO on our website: www.sheeo.org.

SHEEO Releases Two State Authorization Requests for Proposals

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has released two requests for proposals relating to state authorization. The first, Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposals, is for states, and the second, State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposals, is geared toward researchers.


Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposals:

Due 5 p.m. on December 16, 2019

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is pleased to announce the creation of a new project designed to help states evaluate and strengthen their authorization processes to better protect students and improve quality in higher education. This multifaceted project will build on the recommendations provided in a recent SHEEO white paper, produce original thinking on state authorization, and provide a forum for states to work on solutions to common issues with state authorization. 

The creation of a Learning Community for states seeking to improve their role as the central actors in the higher education accountability space will be a core component of this project. The goal of the Learning Community is to support state efforts to evaluate and improve state authorization policies and processes systematically. Through in-person and web-based meetings, state teams will receive professional development, technical assistance, financial support, and peer learning opportunities. SHEEO is seeking letters of interest from states that are prepared to elevate state authorization as a core quality assurance and student protection function.

Thanks to the generous support of Lumina Foundation, the Learning Community will include teams from up to eight states. The Learning Community will meet once in person and three times via webinar over 18 months. Each state will receive a $15,000 grant to help jump-start evaluation and reform efforts. The Learning Community will function as an ongoing network of the state teams, SHEEO staff, and subject-matter experts from other education organizations.

Full Description of Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposals and Instructions for Submitting

Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposal
Webinar

Join SHEEO on Friday, November 22 at 1 p.m. MT for a webinar where we will present our motivation for the request for proposal, discuss potential projects, present and discuss potential data sources, and answer questions. View webinar recording here.

State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposals

Due 5 p.m. on January 15, 2020

SHEEO’s primary mission is to promote 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. Central to that mission is equipping states with the skills and information to act when and where necessary. One area that has recently required action is state authorization of postsecondary institutions.

Following the recent surge in institutional and campus closures, the growth in online education programs and providers, and increased concerns about educational quality, SHEEO published a white paper exploring the state role in the postsecondary education regulatory triad that includes the federal government and accreditors. In the white paper, we argue that through the state authorization process, states are the central actors in the higher education public accountability space. To this end, states should evaluate and strengthen their authorization processes to better protect students and improve quality in higher education. While the paper reviews conventional approaches to state authorization and offers recommendations for state agencies to consider, we were unable to find any empirical research on the effectiveness or outcomes of different strategies for state authorization, the process of state authorization, or the experience of individuals involved in state authorization. Without an empirical base of evidence to guide our recommendations, they are not as strong or as specific as they could be.

With generous support from Arnold Ventures, SHEEO is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund research projects that investigate state authorization processes, policies, outcomes, and procedures. The immediate goal of these research projects is to provide states with evidence-based recommendations to improve state authorization.

SHEEO seeks to fund up to six research projects at $13,500 each through this RFP. Researchers requiring additional funds for specific research costs, such as original data collection, significant travel, and data access fees, may submit an additional funds request, including a budget outlining these costs. Awardees will receive these dollars directly as an honorarium, and they may seek funding from other sources to supplement the funds. Each project will consist primarily of two elements:

  1. an empirical research paper with an abstract and an executive summary; and
  2. a corresponding blog post that translates the research for a more general policy audience.

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of SHEEO staff, state higher education leaders, and external researchers. Successful proposals will propose research that promises to have immediate relevance to improving state authorization of postsecondary education providers and that meets traditional academic standards for quality and rigor.

Full Description of State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposals

Submit a Request for Proposal

State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposal
Webinar

Join SHEEO on Friday, November 22 at 10 a.m. MT for a webinar where we will present our motivation for the request for proposal, discuss potential projects, present and discuss potential data sources, and answer questions. View webinar recording.