Education Officials Concerned State May Leave Multi-State Group

by Brian Wilson
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It could cost the State of Iowa millions of dollars if it leaves a Midwest organization that negotiates contracts for education-related expenses. A committee reviewing state boards and commissions has the Midwestern Higher Education Compact on its list for elimination. Emily Shields, executive director of Community Colleges for Iowa, says leaving the compact would have a significant fiscal impact.

A separate distance learning agreement is only available through Iowa’s membership in the Midwest Higher Education Council, too.

Iowa colleges saved about three-and-a-half million dollars last year on the online classes taken by out-of-state students.  Rob Trembath (TREHM-bath) is chief operating officer of the Midwest Higher Education Compact, which he calls MHEC (MECK).

Twelve Midwestern states are part of the compact.

Every state that borders Iowa, along with Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio, are part of the compact. The organization’s contract negotiations saved Iowa and the other 11 states nearly 128 million dollars last year. The Iowa Boards and Commissions Review Committee will issue its final report at the end of the month, but it will be up to legislators and the governor to decide whether any of its recommendations become law. The committee’s initial report would get rid of about a third of the state boards, commissions and advisory groups in state government.

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