For more than half a century, most states have been collaborating with other nearby states through interstate higher education compacts. While many people within American higher education may not be familiar with these collaborative activities, four regional 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) – have helped states, and the public and private institutions within the states, work cooperatively to expand access and excellence within their regions. These regional compacts provide a range of programs and services, including student exchange programs that provide lower-cost access to programs present in one state but not another; collective purchasing initiatives for computer hardware and software, institutional property liability insurance, and student health plans; and policy analysis and research, including comparative economic and demographic analyses. The compacts have worked together where their partners -- states or the institutions within states -- deem collaboration to make sense.
Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC)
The Midwestern Higher Education Compact is a nonprofit regional organization assisting Midwestern states in advancing higher education through interstate cooperation and resource sharing. MHEC seeks to fill its interstate mission through programs that expand postsecondary opportunity and success; promote innovative approaches to improving institutional and system productivity; improve affordability to students and states; and enhance connectivity between higher education and the workplace. Member states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE)
The New England Board of Higher Education promotes greater educational opportunities and services for the residents of New England. It works across the six New England states to engage and assist leaders in the assessment, development, and implementation of sound education practices and policies of regional significance; promote policies, programs, and best practices to assist the states in implementing important regional higher education policies; promote regional cooperation and programs that encourage the efficient use and sharing of educational resources; and provide leadership to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the economic well-being of New England.
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)
The Southern Regional Education Board works with 16 member states to improve public education at every level, from pre-K through Ph.D. SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Atlanta. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and its 16 members work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. WICHE programs—Student Exchange, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, Policy Analysis and Research, and Mental Health—work to find answers to critical questions facing higher education today. WICHE’s 16 members include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states (the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is the first of the group to participate).