President Rita Cheng recently outlined “Student Success in Times of Budget Cuts” to higher education leaders from around the country during the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

Cheng detailed how Northern Arizona University has found ways to adapt to changing budget dynamics, while maintaining the integrity of a quality student experience.

“At NAU, we have always had a strong commitment to access and affordability,” Cheng said. “These values are inherent in our mission, and we have found ways to implement creative, sometimes non-traditional, approaches to support that core value.”

Cheng highlighted NAU’s implementation of “smart growth”, opening doors to a wider and more diverse student population, providing tuition certainty and investing more directly in student engagement.

She also discussed retention as an increasing priority, NAU’s partnerships with community colleges throughout Arizona, including those in Native American communities, the Pledge guarantee tuition program and Personalized Learning.

Cheng’s presentation was part of a panel session that included Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia.

The State Higher Education Executive Officers is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy and coordinating boards of postsecondary education.