As new variants of COVID-19 continue to upend the higher education landscape, colleges and universities are bracing for what could be another year of record enrollment declines. Among the sectors of higher education that have felt these challenges most acutely are regional public four-year universities. In many communities, these institutions provide pathways to upward mobility for students at a range of income levels and backgrounds. But even before the pandemic, there was a growing consensus across higher education that many regional public universities would need to retool and evolve their historic mission of inclusive access to meet changing demographics and regional workforce needs.

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