Serving statewide coordinating and governing boards in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.
Finance & Costs

SHEEO has compiled a collection of useful links and data for assessing and analyzing factors in the current state of financing higher education.

Additional resources may be found on our Finance Web Resources webpage including links to regional compact states fiscal information. The key financial questions faced by every state higher education agency include:

1) What level of support is necessary and adequate to meet the state's goals (and how can adequacy be     reflected in allocations to specific institutions and purposes)?

2) How can available resources be fairly and equitably distributed among institutions, purposes,
    and emerging priorities?
3) How much should students pay and how much should be provided by the state?

4) How much and by what criteria should the state help individual students meet the costs of
    higher education?

These are complex questions, and their complexity is compounded by the persistent imperatives to manage within limited resources and to increase productivity.

Current Projects:

State Higher Education Finance
The State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report is a tool to help policy makers and educators address broad public policy questions. The report is accompanied by three technical essays that discuss: a) the Higher Education Cost Adjustment (HECA) used by SHEF to estimate the effects of inflation on higher education; b) SHEF's analytical adjustments for interstate differences in the cost of living and the proportion of enrollments among types of institution; and c) the differences between various sources of information on state higher education finance.

Survey of State Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance Policies
The Survey of State Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance Policies project originally began at SHEEO in 1988. The survey was updated in 1993 and was further expanded in 1996, 1999 and 2006 in partnership with WICHE. The latest edition, "State Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance Polices for Public Colleges and Universities, 2010-2011" was published in 2011.

Changing Direction: Integrating Higher Education Financial Aid and Financing Policy
Changing Direction will examine how to structure financial aid and financing policies and practices to maximize participation, access, and success for all students. This initiative, sponsored by the Lumina Foundation, will reflect the combined innovation and cooperation of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), the American Council on Education (ACE) and SHEEO.

Previous Projects:

Recession, Retrenchment, and Recovery Project
The Center for the Study of Education Policy's Recession, Retrenchment, and Recovery Project examined the effects of recessions on students' financial access to college during the 25-year period 1979-2004, identified states that have been relatively successful in maintaining financial access, and collected policy strategies used by these states.

Recommended Readings:

Priorities, Quality and Productivity in Higher Education: The Illinois PQP Initiative
By Robert A. Wallhaus; Published by the Education Commission of the States in 1996 as part of their Policy Papers on Higher Education

In October 1991, Illinois higher education embarked upon a major initiative to refocus priorities, improve quality and enhance productivity. This initiative, called Priorities, Quality, Productivity, or P•Q•P for short, already has had a
pervasive and lasting impact on colleges and universities in the state, and on how well they serve Illinois students and
the public at large. This paper examines the concepts and processes underlying the Illinois P•Q•P initiative. The 25 productivity guidelines developed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and outlined in this paper include the areas
of instruction, research and public service, overall academic and administrative productivity, and state-level procedures and regulations. The paper also presents the results achieved in Illinois as well as the transition of P•Q•P to support the ongoing processes involved in making choices about how Illinois higher education can most effectively use its resources
to serve people's needs.

Designing a State Student Grant Program: A Framework for Policy-Makers
by Jerry Davis, September 2001

"Designing a State Student Grant Program: A Framework for Policy-Makers" (September 2001), by Jerry Sheehan Davis proposes to answer the question, "Who should receive how much aid to attend which kinds of institutions for what purposes?"

Davis suggests that the traditional goals of state aid programs are to enhance student access, choice, and retention. Additional goals include: "equalizing" tuition charges, encouraging students to prepare for specific occupations, providing incentives for attending in-state schools, and rewarding academic achievement. Despite various goals, Davis suggests that state grant programs have these three common characteristics: (1) they enable the recipient to accomplish something he/she could not without assistance, (2) they strive to be "effective" and "efficient" and (3) they are not adequately funded to achieve all of the intended goals.

Davis' report stresses the following observations: Whereas "there are no formulas to help decide whether to provide a little aid to many students or a large amount of aid to fewer students," awards should be "intended to enable recipients to do something they would not or could not have done without them." It appears that "when program funds are finite, a program that emphasizes 'choice' is likely to make fewer grant awards than one that emphasizes 'access,'" and "when awards are based on 'ability to pay,' lower-income students are likely to receive a larger share of the grant funds." Davis offers a table presenting the relationships between program focus/purpose and possible outcomes while acknowledging that, "it is unlikely that any one state grant program will achieve all goals for all students."