Affordability and Student Success: Recapping 2014 Higher Education Legislative Activity in the West

Policy Insights Cover, Nov. 2014
Year published: 
2014
Month published: 
November
Media type: 
PDF
Number of pages: 
6
File size: 
152 KB
Print publication number : 
2A40014

After reaching a low point in 2012, state investment in higher education increased for the second year in a row in 2014 – something that had not happened since the Great Recession of 2008 began. With greater stability in some, though certainly not all, state budgets, many Western legislatures in 2014 looked for new ways to contain college costs for students. In fact, affordability was the key theme of this year’s sessions; in an attempt to address affordability, legislators in the WICHE region passed bills freezing or limiting tuition increases and created new scholarships and other financial aid opportunities for students. Many Western states also increasingly looked to higher education as the driver of economic growth, as their legislatures focused more on community colleges and career and technical education, while others sought to encourage partnerships between business and postsecondary institutions. Issues to watch include undocumented students, guns on campus, military and veterans education, and the ongoing implementation of common academic standards that prepare students for college and careers. This Policy Insights summarizes the key topics and trends addressed during the 2014 legislative sessions and highlights other new and emerging issues to watch in the region.