Current Work

2014 Work Plan Overview for House Higher Education Committee
Roadmap 2014 Work Plan
• 3 Council Committees for implementation of Roadmap action items and other Council work involving Council partner agencies and organizations:
o Committee for Academic Affairs and Policy
o Committee for Student Support
o Committee for Funding and Affordability

• Strategic Action Plan due to Legislature and Governor in December: The short-term Strategic Action Plan will lay out the Council’s recommendations on investments and policy changes for the 2015-17 biennium necessary to address high-priority Roadmap action items to reach the state’s educational attainment goals.

Policy, Planning & Research
• Improving Student Learning at Scale (ISLS) Collaborative: WSAC is the lead agency working on the Improving Student Learning at Scale (ISLS) Collaborative grant, awarded to the state by the National Governors Association to support effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Washington’s grant is for $65,000. There are six meetings scheduled for 2014.
• Disability Task Force:  2013 Legislation established a statewide task force to improve postsecondary transition for students with disabilities. WSAC provides staff support to the task force, including preparation of annual reports to the legislature in December of 2013, 2014, and 2015. Seven meetings have been scheduled for 2014.
• Educational Attainment for All Conference (April 16th in Yakima): WSAC is holding a networking conference aimed at improving educational opportunities for historically underserved groups. The conference will provide P-12 and postsecondary educators, counselors, outreach and support personnel, and leaders opportunities to engage with each other in understanding the latest demographic data and trends, sharing effective practices, and developing an ongoing P-20 network dedicated to improving educational opportunities for historically underserved groups.
• Prior Learning Assessment Workgroup: WSAC has been convening the State’s Prior Learning Assessment Work Group as a result of legislation that passed in 2011 and in 2012. The Work Group (which has been a model for legislation in other states) is a strong partnership of colleges and universities, business representatives, and military stakeholders, with the goal of increasing the number students receiving academic credit for prior learning, as well as increasing the number and type of academic credits accepted for prior learning.
• Skilled and Educated Workforce Report is an annual report developed in partnership with SBCTC & WTECB that identifies of the number and type of higher education and training credentials required to meet employer demand.  The 2014 report is due in November.
• Results Washington: WSAC is providing data and staff support for the progress measures related to the “World-class Education Goal”
• Tuition and Fee Survey is an annual report of tuition and fees information from public institutions in all 50 states to provide comparisons to tuition rates at Washington’s institutions. 


Student Financial Assistance
• State Need Grant review under 28B.77:  The report due in December will examine the outcomes of students receiving the SNG award and provide options for prioritizing SNG awards based on student outcomes.  At minimum, we intend to use data sets from the recent WSIPP study to examine things like student eligibility criteria and grant award amounts.  We’ll also examine other states’ approaches in this area.
• Implementation of SB 6523 (DREAM/Real Hope Act):  WSAC has already started working on the  development of a “FAFSA-like” application to determine income eligibility, as well as the coordination of outreach and awareness efforts. (http://www.readysetgrad.org/wasfa)
• Foster youth: WSAC is participating in interim workgroup related to increasing educational attainment for foster youth as part of its role in administering the Passport to College Promise Scholarship program.
• Data share to increase FAFSA sign-ups: States have been granted permission by the US Dept. of Ed to share information with high schools and districts so they know which of their students have filed the FAFSA.  (We already do this for CBS students.)
• Ongoing SFA work:
o Improving SNG and CBS forecasting models;
o Ongoing evaluation of SFA programs; and
o Continued review of institutional data to ensure compliance with state policies.

College Access & Support Services
• Retention conference: WSAC is working with partners to hold a statewide conference for support services personnel to gather and share innovated practices related to outreach, identification and support of underrepresented students including College Bound Scholars. 
• College Bound outreach efforts:  WSAC is increasing communication efforts with CBS high school seniors and high school counselors to ensure they are aware of important deadlines and next steps.  We are also working on increasing sign-ups of eligible 7th and 8th graders by the June 30th deadline.
• College Goal Washington:  WSAC worked to hold FAFSA-sign up events at 69 sites this January and February.  WSAC will be providing training for volunteers and site coordinators this year.
• College Application Campaign: College application completion events arescheduled for October and November 2014 that will help students complete 1-4 college applications.  This program has been piloted over the last few years and will be expanded statewide in 2014.
• GEAR-UP:  WSAC will continue its work related to the federally-funded GEAR-UP Program that provides academic and social support to low-income students.  35,000 students are currently being served in Washington under GEAR-UP.
• R-S-G improvements: WSAC will continue to make improvements to the Council’s Ready-Set-Grad website, aimed at providing students with the tools and information necessary to plan their pathway from high school graduation to postsecondary education and beyond.

Depending on the outcomes of the current session, the Council will also likely be convening a task force over the interim to examine issues related to affordability and access in postsecondary education.  A proviso along those lines is currently in the House budget.  There is also 2014 legislation that would establish a work group on the continued viability of the College Bound Scholarship program.