RELEASED: Strategic Plan for higher education

Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) has formally released the 2016-20 Strategic Plan for higher education after a year of work and collaboration. The plan provides a foundation and scaffolding for preparing more Oregonians with the degrees, certificates, and training they need to succeed in their goals and careers.

While higher education in Oregon is a complex network of institutions and providers that collectively award more than 45,000 degrees and certificates per year, HECC is the only state entity responsible for ensuring pathways to higher educational success for Oregonians statewide, and serves as a convener of the groups and institutions working across the public and private higher education arena.

“This plan addresses the complexity of the higher education system, the myriad obstacles student currently face, and the specific opportunities and levers the HECC has to change them,” Neil Bryant, Chair of the HECC, said. “It is both a realistic and deeply optimistic plan for us to work together as a state so that all Oregonians meet their highest education and career potential, and have the opportunity to prosper in a global economy.”

The plan defines six key priorities that will guide higher education funding and policy decisions within the HECC authority, including:

  • Goal-setting: sharpening state higher education goals in specific areas, including for working-age adults, and better reporting our progress towards meeting them.
  • Public College and University Funding: supporting sustainable state funding linked to student success.
  • Pathways: simplifying and aligning student pathways from cradle to career.
  • Student Support: enhancing student success, safety, and completion.College Affordability: limiting student costs for attending college in Oregon.
  • Economic and Community Impact: contributing to prosperous workforce, economy, and communities.

Oregon has made progress toward the state’s 40-40-20 goal, yet not all of the state’s populations have experienced equally the benefits of improving completion rates. The HECC will take a lead role in convening partners to further align programming and supports to close achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income students, students of color, and recent high school graduates—and to improve connections between Oregon’s education and workforce systems.

“I am grateful to the campus leaders, students, business, community, agency staff, and government partners who provided valuable input and expertise during our year-long development of this critical plan for the State of Oregon, and especially to the commissioners for their careful thought and vision,” Ben Cannon, Executive Director of the HECC, said. “Throughout this process, we have seen a profound and shared commitment to educational excellence, opportunity, equity, and to real and sustainable progress, and I am deeply heartened for the future toward which we are navigating.”

The strategic plan is anchored by the Commission’s Equity Lens, which commits the HECC to ensuring that its policy and resource allocation decisions advance equity. It also builds on the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2014-15, which set a foundation for the Commission’s efforts to “steer and cheer” the higher education enterprise. The plan will provide the framework for policy and funding decisions through 2020, and HECC staff have already started developing implementation plans.

The HECC is dedicated to fostering and sustaining the best, most rewarding pathways to opportunity and success for all Oregonians through an accessible, affordable and coordinated network for educational achievement beyond high school.