INTERSTATE PASSPORT FAQ’S
Please see below for some common questions about the Interstate Passport.
What is the origin of the Interstate Passport Initiative?
Chief academic leaders in the WICHE states conceived the idea of a new framework with learning outcomes serving as the currency for transfer in an effort to better serve their students, particularly those who transfer across state lines. WICHE staff manages the Interstate Passport program on behalf of the Passport Review Board and all of the members of the Interstate Passport Network.
Who developed the essential parts of the Interstate Passport program?
Faculty from universities and community colleges in the initial seven participating states jointly developed the Passport Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and Proficiency Criteria (PC).
For how long did faculty work on the Interstate Passport program?
When the Passport PLOs and PC were completed in spring 2016, faculty members had worked for over three years to develop the Interstate Passport framework. Working in teams, faculty arrived at a consensus on learning outcomes developed from ones that, in most cases, already existed in departments and programs in their institutions and states. Similarly, the proficiency criteria are examples of assignments currently in use by faculty to develop and assess proficiency with each PLO.
What is contained in the Interstate Passport framework?
The framework contains nine knowledge and skill areas that map to the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The Interstate Passport includes the foundational skills of oral communication, written communication, and quantitative literacy; knowledge of concept in natural sciences, human cultures, creative expression, and human society and the individual; and the cross-cutting skills of critical thinking, and teamwork and value systems.
Can you explain why WICHE decided to discontinue the Passport?
WICHE convenes the Passport Review Board (PRB) annually to assess Interstate Passport’s progress, budget, impact, and success. This year’s convening happened virtually on March 2, 2023 and March 16, 2023. In the review of the academic year 2021-2022, it was clear that with grant funding ending and low program recruitment, there needed to be a fiscally sustainable way to continue the program. WICHE shared several potential outcomes with the PRB. Due to this decision’s institutional and student impact, PRB members had time between the meetings to confer with stakeholders in their state. Institutional Liaisons at member institutions were surveyed to better understand the program’s value at their institutions. Ultimately, the PRB voted to use the remainder of the Interstate Passport budget to create evergreen resources around learning outcome-based credit mobility accessible by any institution on the WICHE website.
Can institutions continue issuing the Interstate Passport and transcript it as such, even though WICHE will no longer support it?
Interstate Passport has always been a faculty-developed and institutionally-driven program, and institutions can decide to continue to issue and accept Interstate Passports or cease issuing and accepting Interstate Passports depending on what is best for their students. WICHE will no longer actively support institutions in building their Passport Blocks or developing their transcription process; however, static resources will remain available online. The National Student Clearinghouse will stop serving as a repository for awarded Passports awarded and providing any data around academic progress tracking.
Will you provide a list of institutions that will honor Passports?
WICHE will not be maintaining a list of institutions that honor Passports. Examples of Passport Blocks will be available on the WICHE website before the end of 2024 for other institutions who would like to use the Passport Learning Outcomes as a basis for their credit mobility initiatives.
WICHE will create a template for articulation agreements between existing Interstate Passport institutions that current institutions can use to solidify transfer pathways with any important transfer partners currently connected through Interstate Passport.
If our institution no longer recognizes Passports from other institutions, when is the earliest we can stop recognizing them? January 2024 or earlier?
This is an institutional decision, and WICHE will honor your institution’s decision. We urge institutions to remember that this is a new announcement, and some students may still be planning to transfer with their Passports in Fall 2023. Whatever your decision, it is crucial that consistent and clear messaging and information are available through your academic advisors, registrar, faculty, transfer specialists, or any other staff that may advise on student transfer.
The guidance in the sunsetting email indicates the last reporting is August 2023, but you said that the Passport would go through December 2023. Does that mean we will not report Passports for Fall 2023?
Correct. We strongly urge institutions to report their data for the academic year 2022-23 to the National Student Clearinghouse by August 15th. The sixth year of data reporting will help us understand what impact, if any, Passport has had on completion rates. No data will be collected for the academic year 2023-24 and afterward.
The guidance also listed removing Interstate Passport from our catalogs. If this is the case, can institutions choose not to transcript or award for Fall 2023 so that this is a clean break for the academic year?
This is an institutional decision, and WICHE will honor your institution’s decision. Whatever your decision, it is essential that consistent and clear messaging and information are available through your academic advisors, registrar, faculty, transfer specialists, or any other staff that students may be going to for advice around transfer.
We have a dedicated staff that is happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out to us via the contact information below.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
3035 Center Green Drive, Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80301-2204