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Rebecca Morgan, Jon Schneider and Peter Risse

Top: Jon Schneider, Michelle Steffens, Peter Risse, Bottom: Brittany McEwen, Amanda Ryan, Rebecca Morgan, Faye Montoya

After presenting at the 2018 University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) West regional conference, Boise State staff members were selected as “Best in Show” and have been invited to repeat their presentation at the UPCEA annual conference in Seattle in the spring.

The presentation, “Boise State Passport to Education: Integrating 21st Century Degree Pathways with a 21st Century Partnership and Tuition Model,” was a collaborative effort between Director of Boise State X Rebecca Morgan, Director of the Bachelor of Applied Science and Multidisciplinary Studies programs Jon Schneider and Associate Dean of Extended Studies Peter Risse.

Morgan, Schneider and Risse’s presentation described the implementation, growth and goals of the new Passport to Education program established in 2018 with Boise State’s inaugural partner, CapEd Credit Union. Passport increases access and affordability of higher education through a modern approach to tuition: a monthly payment plan instead of paying for a semester up front and in full. The program leverages existing online degree programs – the Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies and the Bachelor of Applied Science – both of which are designed to scale to serve a large number of students while giving each a high-quality, flexible and customized educational experience that meets their current needs and prepares them for their next steps in their career or education.

Morgan was glad to share this project with peers. “[UPCEA] was the perfect opportunity to spread this innovative idea and get feedback from leaders in higher education throughout the West,” she said. “This opens doors for recognition from future partners and across the campus about affordable, accessible solutions that come from tackling barriers to higher education through collaboration within and outside of the university.”

Risse echoed this sentiment and touched on the reception from other institutions at the conference, saying their group has been getting calls from other institutions around the West about how they can model a similar program. Risse mentioned that the success of this program “is based largely on Boise State’s culture that encourages responsible risk-taking.”

Boise State’s internal and external partners have served as a perfect incubator for innovative programs like Passport to Education. Every partner has been willing to share risks as well as rewards, is committed to providing accessible and affordable education options, and knows to accept noble failures instead of getting hung up on roadblocks. Morgan, Risse and Schneider all share the belief that Boise State is unique in this regard.