Contextualized Solutions for Complex Problems
We take a lot of care to fully understand the conditions surrounding the problems. NCHEMS has a tremendous facility in finding workable solutions to contentious issues. We use these key approaches (from our Knowledge First Framework™) to educate, inform and be pragmatic in how we produce recommendations, so they have the best chance of being implemented. First and foremost, our work is focused on how our recommendations will impact students and state goals. Policies and solutions don’t exist in isolation. Any strategy or recommendation must work effectively with all conditions the state or institution is facing, and to the benefit of all students.
NCHEMS’ work in higher education finance has had a significant influence that can be seen indirectly or indirectly in the finance policies in use in many states. For example, NCHEMS staff developed a set of principles of good practice for designing and implementing performance funding approaches, and many states have since adapted these principles in the development of their funding models. We have also put forward a framework for establishing a minimum level of funding adequacy for public institutions. Today, NCHEMS is involved in assessing allocation models, and we have developed financial aid models for several states.
Postsecondary finance policies cannot be developed in isolation. In particular, the key financing levers available to states—institutional appropriations, tuition pricing, and state-funded financial aid—must work together effectively to ensure institutional health and student affordability. And all of these must be closely tied to the achievement of state goals. In particular, the lack of a common understanding of what it means for the college to be affordable is a major barrier to creating policies that can help students enroll and not become overburdened by too much debt. A recent study suggests that states will not meet their attainment goals without significant financial investment in their public higher education institutions. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on low-income student enrollment.