SHEEO partners with Sova to align student success across higher education institutions & state agencies

Four states to join new learning community focused on student success

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is excited to announce our partnership with Sova to form a new learning community that fosters a collaborative relationship between state agencies and higher education institution student success teams. This new partnership, with generous funding from the Ascendium Education Group, will support better alignment of student success policies and practices. The Pursuing Alignment for Student Success Across Higher Education Institutions & State Agencies (PASS) project will partner with higher education leaders in Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Wyoming through 2025. 

“This new initiative adopts a networked strategy, emphasizing the importance of alignment between state higher education offices and institutions to foster more equitable student success,” said SHEEO President Rob Anderson. “Our members are uniquely positioned to serve as pivotal intermediaries, bridging state policy and higher education for the benefit of students. We look forward to seeing how these efforts can be scaled to make a broader impact across our membership.”

PASS will focus on scaling the impact of student success efforts statewide by formalizing state networks and promoting strategies between institutional leadership teams and state higher education leaders. Institutional chief academic officers will provide insights into current initiatives and best practices to support student needs and catalyze campus-wide support for their success. In addition, institutions will benefit from enhanced access to policy development across sectors, missions, geographic regions, and service areas statewide. At the same time, SHEEO agencies will use their state and system-wide platforms both to serve as conduits of this best-practice exchange and to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges institutions face and how best to coordinate advocacy for their students. 

Each state team will receive planning grants and strategic planning and technical assistance that recognizes their unique context and needs. This networked approach aims to achieve the following:

  • a better understanding of the impacts of state policy on campus transformation efforts; 
  • render campus-based student success work less vulnerable to changes in leadership, policy, and political circumstances; and 
  • an opportunity to benefit SHEEO’s full membership nationwide.

“We’re excited about the work our campus and state teams have committed to create and build on the habits of practice and cultures of collaboration that allow for durable, meaningful, and impactful partnerships between state agency offices and institutional leaders. Sustained student success requires institutions and state agencies to align on goals, leverage their respective strengths, and work in partnership to ensure that today’s students receive the education they deserve and their communities require for economic growth,” said Brian A. Sponsler, partner at Sova.


The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) serves the 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. For more information, visit

About Sova 

Together, we build the capacity for large-scale change. Our focus is not just on the systems and institutions themselves but on the incredible people behind them. By joining the Sova community, you become part of a collective force dedicated to achieving impactful results. We offer personalized support, tailored strategies, and hands-on guidance to help you navigate the path toward transformation. Our approach is grounded in collaboration, empathy, and a genuine understanding of your challenges. We provide the tools and resources needed to turn your vision into reality, ensuring that every step you take is purposeful and clear.

For more information, visit or contact Brian Sponsler,

About Ascendium

Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium’s work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit