On Thursday, January 25, CSG South Senior Policy Analyst Cody Allen attended the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s (THEC) Winter Quarterly Meeting presenting on Southern state legislative trends in higher education policy. His presentation to this state commission focused on national and regional trends, including direct and statewide admissions policies, military and veteran-friendly campuses, enrollment and retention measures, campus food deserts, and the growing world of artificial intelligence policy in education. Notably, with the THEC staff presenting on food insecurity on campuses across the state, his presentation touched on recent proposals and laws in Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia to establish Hunger-Free Campuses. These states took various approaches to address this critical issue, whether providing start-up funding, removing restrictions to allow students to donate meal plan credits, or creating competitive grant programs to incentivize institutions and community organizations to partner on food pantries. These efforts, along with others to provide housing assistance or protections for pregnant and parenting students, represent new efforts to support students holistically – and increase retention and enrollment – given the continued issue of low enrollment, even with more widespread free and reduced-cost higher education opportunities. Additionally, Allen praised the commission for its strong legacy of regional leadership in higher education, as evidenced by its winning the CSG South State Transformation in Action (STAR) Award three years in a row from 2017 to 2019.* He closed by highlighting the ongoing work to restrengthen higher education by eliminating silos and aligning all postsecondary options to provide students with flexible and affordable education pathways.

Download the presentation here:

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*For more information on the STAR Award program and application instructions, please visit here.

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