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Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

This issue of "Policy Insights" provides a review of the past five years of the cost and value of higher education, which have gained increased policymaker, consumer, and media attention. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has worked with four of its member states (Hawai'i, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) to test how cross-state collaboration and data sharing might inform important questions about the development and mobility of human capital. This brief discusses the pilot phase of this project--the "Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange" (MLDE)--including the process of developing governance structures and cross-state agreements, the importance and feasibility of complying with privacy laws, and some policy-relevant results from the cohort of almost 193,000 high school graduates and first-time college students that were encompassed by the educational and workforce data exchange. Among other things, the MLDE highlights that public policy is better informed when the movement of students and graduates across state lines is factored into the setting and achievement of state workforce and educational attainment goals. This policy brief discusses lessons learned to date, and concludes by proposing that policymaking is strengthened by the existence and analysis of individual-level data that sheds light on what happens with the mobility of human capital into and out of states, not just within them.

Descriptors: Human Capital, Capacity Building, Governance, Privacy, High School Graduates, College Freshmen, Labor Force, Public Policy, Data, Higher Education, Employment Opportunities, Employment, Occupational Mobility, Population Trends, Fundamental Concepts, Compensation (Remuneration), Intellectual Disciplines, Majors (Students), Associate Degrees

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. P.O. Box 9752, Boulder, CO 80301-9752. Tel: 303-541-0200; Fax: 303-541-0291; Web site:

Autor: Prescott, Brian T.


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