State Highlights

WICHE and Nevada

Partnering for Over 55 Years
Year joined: 


► Tens of thousands of students from Nevada have attended undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in other Western states through WICHE’s Student Exchange Program, saving millions of dollars, thanks to reduced tuition rates. In just one of the programs, the Western Undergraduate Exchange, Nevada students have saved $128.1 million since 1988 when the program was founded.

► Nevada has received funding to be part of numerous WICHE policy initiatives, including those focused on financing and financial aid, workforce policy, and other areas.

► Nevada has participated in WICHE initiatives related to distance education, workforce development, and behavioral health.

Return on Investment.

► In 2016-17 Nevada, its institutions, and its students saved or brought in over $15.7 million through WICHE and spent $145,000 for membership in the commission, yielding a 109-fold return on investment.

► In the last 5 years, Nevada savings from WUE alone have topped $55.2 million, yielding an 82-fold return on the state’s investment in WICHE.

Student Savings
Student Savings WUE: 
Student Savings WRGP: 
Student Savings PSEP: 
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PSEP Revenue: 
Grand Total: 

Programs and Participation.

Nevada is active in all three WICHE Student Exchange Programs: the Western Undergraduate Exchange, the Professional Student Exchange Program, and the Western Regional Graduate Program. In 2016-17 Nevada’s students and families saved nearly $15.4 million. Nevada saved money, too, through not having to establish and maintain costly programs in a number of areas, including some in healthcare.

Western Undergraduate Exchange. Nevada students have enrolled in undergraduate programs beyond Nevada’s borders through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) since 1988. In 2016-17, 1,640 students from Nevada are enrolled in out-of-state programs at reduced rates (150 percent of resident tuition), saving $13.5 million in tuition and fees – the average student savings amounted to $8,265. In the last 10 years, students have saved over $91.1 million.

Nevada benefits from WUE in another way: by receiving students from out of state. Nevada’s institutions can choose how many out-of-state slots to offer and in which areas, allowing them to make the best use of their resources by accepting students in underenrolled programs. There’s a workforce benefit for the state, too, as students often stay in Nevada after graduating. In 2016-17 Nevada received 4,561 students through WUE.

Professional Student Exchange Program. Nevada has sent 1,481 students to professional programs through the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), with 45 students currently studying in a host of critical fields, including optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, and veterinary medicine. Nevada received 23 PSEP students from other states in 2016-17, along with $349,845 in support fees. Historically, 89 percent of PSEP students return to Nevada to pursue their professional careers.

Western Regional Graduate Program. Nevada’s postgraduates also enroll in degree and certificate programs through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), which offers access to more than 400 high-quality, distinctive programs (“distinctive” meaning they’re offered at only four or fewer institutions in the WICHE region) at 59 institutions in all WICHE states. WRGP programs run the gamut, but emerging social, environmental, and resource-management fields are particular strengths, as are innovative interdisciplinary programs. In 2016-17 Nevada sent 75 students to out-of-state institutions, while receiving 16.

Interstate Passport is a program that facilitates block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes and proficiency criteria. It includes learning outcomes for nine knowledge and skill areas developed by faculty at institutions in multiple states as well as an academic progress tracking system for Passport transfer students designed by registrars and institutional researchers. The goal of the Interstate Passport is to eliminate transfer students’ unnecessary repetition of learning previously achieved.  

WICHE’s Added Value.

Nevada gains added value from WICHE’s programs in policy, workforce development, technology, mental health, and other areas.

One of WICHE’s most widely known publications is the Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates series, which for almost 40 years has provided strategic data about how high school graduates are likely to change in the years ahead. The 9th edition of Knocking at the College Door, released in December 2016, describes how the nation has entered a decade of stabilization in the number of high school graduates, with substantial contraction in the number of White high school graduates and rapid increases of non-White populations. After about 2025, the nation and most states will produce fewer high school graduates than in recent years, due to a recent “baby bust”. The WICHE region will generally track the national trend, but it will be less impacted by the contraction of White youth and more influenced by a projected 20 percent increase of Hispanic high school graduates through 2024 and then decrease by about the same amount between 2025 and 2032.

There is an abundance of information on, including the publication and other reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars and presentations, and Nevada’s state profile, which indicates that:

  • Nevada is projected to produce 24,700 high school graduates per year, on average, between school years 2012 and 2032. The number of high school graduates in Nevada will increase about 20% by 2025 – about 3,300 more graduates – and then decline about 12% by 2032.
  • Non-White public high school graduates are currently about 52% of all of Nevada’s public high school graduates and will increase to 60% of the total by 2032. 

Policy & Workforce Development.

Nevada has participated in projects supporting better-informed decision making at the state level. WICHE initiatives have been sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and others. In addition, WICHE policy experts often visit the state to present or consult on a number of vital issues, including the state’s workforce needs and balancing the financial aid portfolio between grants, loans, and scholarships, as well as between merit- and need-based aid.

Nevada also participated in a Gates-funded meeting that brought together the stewards of the data systems in 14 of the WICHE states for discussions around linking data internally and with other states. A central topic of conversation was how to address the challenges to data sharing presented by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. 

Nevada was also a member of WICHE’s College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Consortium and Network, which helped the Nevada System of Higher Education with federal grant implementation and provided project leaders the opportunity to learn from other states, share best practices and lessons learned, and receive current evidence-based research. 

The Adult College Completion (ACC) Network, funded by Lumina Foundation, was an 800-member learning network that united organizations and agencies working to increase college completion by adults with prior college credits but no degree. Activities included an annual workshop, a webinar series, publications, a listserv, and other resources. The ACC Network and WICHE became national leaders in the area of adult learners and continue to be an important resource to those who strive to better serve non-traditional students.

The State Higher Education Policy Database (SHEPD) is WICHE’s online searchable database. It provides state and national policymakers, education leaders, practitioners, and education consumers with an inventory of state-level policies and resources in key policy issue areas related to access and success in higher education. It contains a blog and an electronic SHEPD alert distribution list to keep subscribers current on important updates. A related resource is the Policy Publications Clearinghouse, a depository of publications, reports, and briefs related to higher education.

Additionally, Nevada State College, the Nevada System of Higher Education, University of Nevada Reno, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum), the chief academic leaders of the four-year institutions and their related system and state agencies, who address regional higher education issues and engage in resource sharing. The Western Alliance for Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance) brings academic leaders of community colleges and technical schools and systems together with state governing and coordinating boards associated with two-year institutions to exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise, and collaborate on regional initiatives. Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Western Nevada College are members.


Several Nevada colleges and universities are active participants in the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET is widely recognized as an informative, reliable, and forward-thinking organization regarding the role of technology and innovation in higher education, and includes more than 350 institutions, state and systemwide higher education agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in nearly all U.S. states and many Canadian provinces. WCET members have access to trusted information on emerging trends, policies, and exemplars of successful learning technology innovation in practice. Key WCET activities include an annual meeting, leadership summits, national webcasts, the popular Frontiers blog, issue briefs, and email list-based discussions among members. Major topics of interest to the WCET membership include student and faculty success, the Internet of Things, managing e-learning, emerging technologies, broadband and learning innovation, and evolving policy issues.

Mental Health.

Over the course of the past decade, WICHE has worked collaboratively with both the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) and the State of Nevada WICHE to better understand behavioral health workforce issues. From this engagement has evolved the development of the Nevada Psychology Internship Consortium, which will matriculate its first cohort of interns the summer of 2015. This is a unique partnership between WICHE MHP, Nevada WICHE, and DPBH. Nevada WICHE has committed funds for internship stipends during the development phase, while the DPBH has funded WICHE to develop the internship and support for gaining accreditation. As DPBH achieves the ability to self-fund the internship stipends, Nevada WICHE has expressed a commitment to redirect its funding support to new behavioral health professional education and training initiatives.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is a voluntary, nationwide initiative of states that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The effort initially was funded by $3.2 million in grants from Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is now supported by fees paid by institutions. The initiative is administered by the country’s four regional higher education compacts – the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) – and overseen by The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). States and institutions that choose to participate agree to operate under common standards and procedures, providing a more uniform and less costly regulatory environment for institutions, more focused oversight responsibilities for states and better resolution of student complaints. Nevada was among the first WICHE states to become a member of W-SARA in this reciprocal relationship.

Other Initiatives. 

Another initiative, the Master Property Program (MPP), helps institutions reduce their insurance premiums and improve their coverage. Created by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact in 1994 and expanded to the WICHE region in 2004, the MPP includes more than 160 campuses with total insured values of over $103 million. The 10 institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education are insured through the MPP and collectively have saved several million on their insurance costs. WICHE is also partnering with MHEC to offer MHECare, a new health program providing vetted, competitively priced medical benefits for students. Underwritten by UnitedHealthcare StudentResources, MHECare offers a variety of plans. Sierra Nevada College participates in MHECare. In a third collaboration with MHEC, WICHE extends the benefits of MHECtech to colleges and universities in the West enabling them to purchase from competitively bid purchasing agreements to reduce costs on a range of hardware and software products and services.

Former Commissioners.

Joseph Hardy, Nevada state senator; Carl Shaff, educational consultant, Reno; Jane Nichols, former vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Nevada System of Higher Education, Reno; Warren Hardy, former state senator; Raymond Rawson, dentist and former state senator; Patricia Geuder, professor emeritus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Richard Jarvis, former chancellor of the University and Community College System of Nevada and the Oregon University System; Paul Page (WICHE chair, 1996), former vice president for university advancement at the University of Nevada, Reno; and John M. Vergiels, professor emeritus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.