MHEC recognizes that access to postsecondary education and training is essential for individual success and critical to the development of Midwestern states, the region and the nation. Therefore, a commitment to access increases the ability of the region to become more competitive in a global economy, and to manage demographic shifts in the number of high school graduates, gaps in educational attainment rates between whites and ethnic minority groups, and respond to an increasing interest in higher education from political leadership.
MHEC helps improve access to education through the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). Since 1994, MSEP has provided more affordable opportunities for students to attend out-of-state institutions. MSEP serves as the Midwest’s largest multi-state tuition reciprocity program. Nearly 100 campuses from the participating states of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have opened their doors to each others' citizens at more affordable rates. Public institutions enrolling students under MSEP agree to charge up to 150% of the in-state resident tuition rate for specific programs; private institutions offer a 10% reduction on their tuition rates.
In addition, MHEC offers its states access to the e-Transcript Initiative (ETI). This initiativeoffers a mechanism to facilitate the transfer of student information between the Midwest's public and private high schools and to the Midwest's public and private colleges and universities in a consistent format, as well as enable transfer among all participating Midwest postsecondary institutions.
While MSEP and ETI have been successful in providing affordable educational opportunities for the Midwest's citizens, MHEC continues to look for ways to address improved access to postsecondary education for Midwest citizens.
At its June 2005 Executive Committee meeting, the Commission unanimously approved the creation of a Student Access Advisory Committee to enhance its mission of encouraging student access, completion and affordability. This committee is charged with exploring student access initiatives and is composed of a variety of individuals across the MHEC region, such as college and state higher education administrators, legislators, MHEC Commissioners and representatives from national organizations.