The AASCU Political Perceptions and Policy Priorities Project serves as a resource for research, advocacy and thought leadership on strategies for strengthening the relationship between public higher education and state government. Complementing the vast array of AASCU’s state government relations and policy analysis work, the project’s goals are to: acquire a greater understanding of the political context of higher education policymaking in the states; develop a framework for appropriately responding to state political dynamics; and recommend strategies for boosting higher education as a state budgetary and policy priority.
A number of forces are driving the need for a stronger relationship between public higher education and state government. These include ever growing competition for limited state dollars, increasing labor market demand for college educated workers, and college affordability and student debt concerns. This project seeks to understand state lawmakers’ perceptions about higher education issues and how college leaders can best respond to those perceptions in order to work effectively with political leaders in meeting state needs and goals.
Guidance on the project is being provided by a task force, staff from AASCU’s Division of Government Relations and Policy Analysis, as well as selected scholars on the political economy of higher education. The AASCU-appointed Task Force on Making Higher Education a State Priority consists of higher education leaders whose careers have spanned higher education and state politics, with a number of task force members having held elected office.
The project will generate analysis, commentary, and data and information for use by higher education leaders, those who advocate on behalf of public colleges and universities, as well as those who impact and inform state higher education funding and state policies affecting higher education. The first product of the project is a report by the Task Force on Making Public Higher Education a State Priority, shown below. This report will be followed by a series of papers that provide thought leadership and applied strategies for strengthening the relationship between public higher education and the state political system.
Collegiate state relations is the continual, collaborative process of engaging state policymakers to maximize support needed to achieve institutional and state objectives. Building and sustaining a state relations program helps the college focus on achieving its mission and promoting its value to individuals and society. A number of dynamics—economic, fiscal, political and demographic—are among many forces that beckon institutions to renew their strategy for engendering mutually beneficial relations with state government. A state relations program should be orchestrated in a manner that reflects the history, culture, values and governance structures that are unique to each state. Read more
Issued by the AASCU Task Force on Making Public Higher Education a State Priority (May 2015)