Response to Senators’ letter RE student borrowers of color

Friday, February 15, 2019

David Tandberg, SHEEO vice president for policy research and strategic initiatives, was asked by Senators Jones, Warren, Harris and Masto to review and react to a letter they produced regarding racial disparities in student debt and broader challenges faced by students of color in college and career training. Dr. Tandberg’s response can be read here.

The views expressed in his response are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association or its membership.

State Policy Intern

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) seeks candidates for two, paid internships for the summer of 2019. These internships are appropriate for students pursuing graduate study in higher education, public policy, public administration, and related fields. The ideal candidates will be motivated, active learners with interests in higher education policy and governance, policy analysis, and research methods. SHEEO seeks and encourages diverse applicants.

The focus of the internships will be providing support for SHEEO’s research and data and policy analysis efforts. SHEEO’s summer 2019 interns may assist with a variety of projects depending on the interns’ skills and interests and SHEEO’s needs. These may include original data collection and analysis, offering assistance to SHEEO agencies, responding to data requests, constructing data sets, drafting white papers, and designing professional development opportunities for SHEEO agency staff. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend the SHEEO Policy Conference Aug 5-9, 2019, in Boston.

The internships will last for approximately eight weeks, beginning in early June. The intern positions will pay $15 per hour. Interns will work 20-37.5 hours per week, with hours by mutual arrangement.


  • Completed coursework in higher education, public policy, public administration, statistics, research methods, economics, sociology, or a related field
  • Quantitative and/or qualitative analysis skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Strong facility with Microsoft Excel
  • Proficiency in a statistical software package (Stata, SPSS, R, Python, etc.) preferred
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • An interest in public policy related to higher education
  • Knowledge of IPEDS and Census data preferred

Goals of the SHEEO State Policy Internship Program:

  • Advancing understanding of state higher education policy and governance
  • Advancing equity and diversity in state higher education policy and governance
  • Increasing the skills and knowledge of the state higher education policy field
  • Increasing the interest of current graduate students in state higher education policy and governance

Application Process:

Please apply by email to: David Szczesny at and include the following:

  1. Letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position
  2. Résumé or curriculum vitae

Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, but full consideration will be given to those received by March 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.

The positions will be based in Boulder, Colorado. SHEEO is particularly interested in providing equal employment opportunities and employing a diverse staff. Read more about SHEEO on our

Job Description

Policy Brief: The Road to the State Higher Education Executive Office

Brandon Bishop, a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver studying higher education with a focus in public policy and organizational change, partnered with SHEEO to write a policy brief about the road to the state higher education executive office.

The state higher education executive officer is the most senior person charged with guiding postsecondary education public policy in their state. Some states have more than one SHEEO, as some represent university governing boards, state community college systems, or state coordinating boards. The SHEEO can be appointed by the governor, or the governing or coordinating board, or hired by an agency head. Additionally, in some states, SHEEOs must meet a range of requirements to attain their position, as is explored later in this brief.

SHEEOs are responsible for maintaining accountability in postsecondary education and providing leadership for postsecondary institutions in their state (Tandberg, Fowles, & McLendon, 2017). SHEEOs work with multiple government agencies, postsecondary institutions, and individuals. They also partner with a variety of key stakeholder groups, including state policy leaders, higher education institutions, parents, and students. By researching prior experience and training of SHEEOs, this brief sheds light on the many roads individuals may take to reach this vital policy position.

Texas SHEEO, Raymund Paredes, resigns

Raymund A. Paredes, who built a 15-year reputation for working to support Texas students from underrepresented communities, is stepping down as commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Commission on Aug. 31.

Annual Grapevine Compilation of State Fiscal Support of Higher Education Released

Data reported by the states in the latest Grapevine survey indicate that initially-approved state fiscal support for higher education in fiscal year 2018-2019 (FY19) totaled to approximately $91.5 billion, a 3.7% increase nationwide from fiscal year 2017-2018 (FY18). This continues a trend of modest annual increases in state higher education funding over the past five years.

Full press release can be found here.  

Response to United States Senators Doug Jones, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Catherine Cortez Masto’s Student Borrowers of Color Solicitation Letter

The racial patterns in college completion and educational attainment rates, debt burden, and loan repayment and default rates identified in the Senators’ letter are symptoms of a centuries-old problem that includes and encompasses but also goes far beyond higher education. The root of the problem is our country’s historic and pervasive institutionalized racism. Centuries of intentional and unintentional actions, policies, practices, customs, and patterns are manifested in the extreme racial disparities in wealth, educational attainment, health, and other critical indicators (including those identified in the Senators’ letter). A critical factor underlying the statistics highlighted in the Senators’ letter is our stratified higher education system. For example, while access generally has increased, students of color are increasingly segregated into open-access institutions. This is exacerbated by the fact that even within our public sector, resources are inequitably distributed, with public research institutions receiving more per student in state appropriations than other public four-year schools and public two-year colleges. These differences in resources matter for student outcomes, including completions. Further, students of color are overrepresented and far more likely than their white-majority counterparts to enroll in for-profit institutions, where their likelihood of success is diminished, and debt loads are greater.

Randy Gardner Appointed Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education

Randy Gardner was appointed the 10th Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education in January 2019. As Chancellor, he oversees the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions and Ohio Technical Centers; provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly; and carries out state higher education policy.