Senator David Pearce – Capitol Report for the Week of Feb. 1

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Higher Education Compact Serves Missouri

This week I had the pleasure of introducing two special guests on the Senate Floor. Larry Isaak, president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), and Pam Schutt, MHEC director of state relations, were visiting the Capitol and meeting with legislators and committees. The Compact is a not-for-profit regional organization that is dedicated to improving opportunities for Midwestern higher education institutions through cooperative programming, institutional reform and reducing administrative costs for academic organizations. The Compact brings together education officials, state committees and professionals from across multiple states to help better higher education’s accessibility and opportunity.

I was honored to be elected as chair of the MHEC in November 2015, and will serve in that capacity for a year. In addition to myself, other Missouri MHEC commissioners include: State Rep. Allen Andrews, R-Grant City; Southeast Missouri State University President Emeritus Kenneth Dobbins; Leadership Coach John McGuire; Associate Vice Chancellor at Washington University, Mark Smith; and alternate commissioner David Russell, of the Missouri Department of Higher Education. As chair I have joined Larry and Pam on their visits to Kansas and South Dakota. I also plan to join them in Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska this spring.

The MHEC’s main goals include expanding postsecondary opportunities and success, promoting innovative approaches to improving institutional and system productivity and enhancing connectivity between higher education and the workplace. States within the Compact’s membership include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Missouri. In fact, Missouri became one of the MHEC’s founding states in 1991 when it passed authorizing state legislation that led to the Compact’s creation. I’m very humbled to be a part of this important multi-state program that helps improve our students’ educational opportunities. Here are some of the great things MHEC has done for Midwestern higher education:

  • Entities in MHEC member states have saved over $486 million since 1991.
  • Missouri received a 110-fold return on its MHEC investment for 2015 (when comparing total savings to the state’s annual Compact dues).
  • Missouri higher education institutions, school districts, state and local governments and students achieved cost savings of over $82 million since the state became an MHEC member.
  • Missouri students and families have saved over $31 million in tuition through the Midwest Student Exchange Program since 1994 – which is just one of the many financial opportunities the Compact offers for our state’s students.

Midwestern Higher Education Compact is also involved in higher education policy. The Compact has devoted lots of time to dual credit and increased standards imposed from the Higher Learning Commission. Due to MHEC’s efforts, the implementation has been delayed in order to give teachers more time to gain increased credentials.

Sen. Pearce stands with Pam Schutt and Larry Isaak of MHEC on the Senate Floor.
Sen. Pearce stands with Pam Schutt and Larry Isaak of MHEC on the Senate Floor.

I was excited to have Larry and Pam meet with legislators and Compact members who are working to better our higher education system. Interstate cooperation for our nation’s educational quality is something that works very well and addresses a broad range of needs. Americans who want to take full advantage of their state’s educational system are able to do so by utilizing the programs and cost-effective methods offered by MHEC. I am proud to be a part of an organization that promotes interconnectivity and teamwork between Midwest states in order to achieve a common goal, and will use my chairmanship to increase opportunities for Missourians and all Midwesterners alike.