A new report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association lists economic and workforce development as a top priority among higher education leaders for the second year in a row.
The report, released Thursday, is based on the results of a survey conducted in November asking state higher ed leaders to rate the importance of 25 policy issues going into 2024. The report ranks the top 10 issues, including the value of higher education (3), state funding for financial aid programs (5), general college completion/student success (7), enrollment declines (8) and adult/nontraditional student success (10). It also cites FAFSA completion and institutional accountability as honorary mentions.
“While this isn’t an exhaustive list of issues states are facing, it is telling for policy priorities for the year ahead,” Tom Harnisch, SHEEO’s vice president for government relations, said in a press release. “Politically, we anticipate higher education will continue to face questions over relevance and value, along with more bills and messaging on hot-button issues heading into the 2024 election cycle.”
However, the report also predicts that despite a heated 2024 presidential race—which is likely to dominate headlines this year—the election cycle will, in most cases, be unlikely to dramatically shift power dynamics at the state level.