WSCUC Earns Lumina Grant to Advance Results-Driven Inquiry, Student Information, and Sustainable Financial Models

The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) has been awarded $745,000 by Lumina Foundation to support strategic initiatives to expand effective use of results in accreditation; promote student protections and information; and better understand, monitor, and support financial health and new business models. 

WSCUC President Jamienne S. Studley said, “Our focus is on building momentum and tools for results-driven accreditation. We are grateful for Lumina’s vision and encouragement to help us deepen the quality of conversations at the heart of our accreditation decisions and improvement process. WSCUC will also use this opportunity to contribute to students’ understanding of quality and their options, and to frame ways to promote institutions’ financial sustainability and assess changing business arrangements.”  

“We’re pleased to support this initiative as part of a portfolio of projects Lumina is developing that builds on a new vision of quality and equity that is outcomes-focused and student-centered,” noted Debra Humphreys, Lumina Vice President of Strategic Engagement. “Lumina applauds WSCUC’s efforts to enhance how it uses data and evidence about student success and implements new tools related to student information, consumer protection, and sustainable financial models.”  

The three areas of work supported by the 18-month Lumina grant are:

  • Results driving change: WSCUC will enhance how it uses evidence of student success in evaluating institutional improvement and accountability across the full range of campus, team review, and commission conversations. WSCUC will also seek creative new measures of success. This work layers on WSCUC initiatives to better understand completion (Graduation Rate Dashboard) and promote equity using disaggregated data.
  • Student consumer protections and information for better choices: WSCUC will develop a set of triggers to determine when to devote extra attention to reviewing institutions’ marketing, recruiting, and admissions practices.  WSCUC will also explore how accreditors can help students make decisions about their postsecondary education options, leveraging its experience evaluating quality and success and promoting transparency. 
  • Financial sustainability and changing business arrangements: Financial issues play a significant and growing role in accreditation. WSCUC will convene organizations to frame strategies to identify, monitor, and support financially fragile institutions and also to evaluate quality in the context of evolving institutional partnerships, service providers, and corporations. 

Studley added, “WSCUC is committed to collaborating, borrowing, recycling, and sharing whenever possible. Our goal is to bring useful practices and information more explicitly and consistently into our own reviews and decisions, and to engage with others to promote insights across accreditation. We look forward to creating and sharing this grant work with the higher education community.”