Unified Data

MHEC Agreement Gives Schools, State Agencies Lower-Cost Access to SAS Viya's AI-Powered Analytics Platform

The Midwestern Higher Education Compact has partnered with AI and data analytics provider SAS to allow state education agencies, K–12 districts, and higher ed institutions across 47 states to access SAS’ Viya unified analytics platform at a significant discount, the organizations announced today at Educause.

The new agreement expands the collaboration between SAS and MHEC, providing new tools to connect data from multiple systems and identify actionable data for schools in MHEC’s 12 member states as well as those belonging to associated regional education compacts.

“With access to Viya, the company’s cloud-native AI and analytics platform, MHEC members can now seamlessly manage, integrate, report, visualize and analyze data from multiple systems, all within a single, unified and open platform,” MHEC said. “SAS will offer secure hosting and administration to ease administrative burdens, allowing institutions to focus on connecting data and answering questions to drive real change for students.”

MHEC said its members will receive discounted pricing to access SAS’ “tools and technologies to generate insights into the quality, accessibility, and affordability of education.”

Viya enables state education agencies, school districts, colleges, and universities to make better use of existing data from many different agencies and sources in order to improve student recruitment, retention, and outcomes. MHEC touted the new partnership as a significant step in its goal to champion “collaborative efforts between schools, governments, and industry.”

MHEC said the new SAS agreement will enable members to:

  • Utilize data analytics to gain insights into student success, academic achievement, and operational processes
  • Make data-driven decisions through statistical algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning techniques
  • Enhance administrative functions, human resources, and facilities and financial operations with visualization reporting solutions
  • Deliver self-service information for stronger connections between students, faculty and staff

The Minnesota Department of Education’s use of Viya offers an example of the power of integrating data across the education spectrum to “provide insight into the obstacles and opportunities that lead to student success in school and beyond,” SAS said. Building on a previous MHEC-SAS agreement, Minnesota created “an innovative state longitudinal data system that integrates early childhood education, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce data to create a panoramic view of education outcomes.”

“The data warehouse encompasses the longitudinal life of an individual from birth through early childhood and elementary and secondary education up to and through higher education and employment, including the various paths people take through education to employment,” SAS said “The Minnesota Department of Education validates longitudinal data from over 50 data sources that include 30 million records from multiple state agencies.”

MHEC represents colleges, universities, K–12 school districts, and school and government agencies through an interstate compact to develop and support best practices, collaboration, and cost-sharing opportunities; the organization also pools resources through agreements with other regional compacts, covering 47 states in all.

Member states of MHEC are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Education agencies and organizations in member states and in states belonging to partner regional cooperatives — including New England Board of Higher EducationSouthern Regional Education Board or the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education — can visit MHEC’s website for information on participating in the contract.

Attendees at Educause in Chicago can learn more about SAS Viya in action, during a session scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday, October 10; “The Value of an End-to-End Analytics Platform in AI Implementation and Data Analytics Modernization” will showcase how Virginia Tech is using SAS Viya to improve efficiencies across operations.

Learn more at MHEC.org and at SAS.com.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].