Today’s students come from all walks of life. They are parents, working adults, veterans, online students and first-generation college-goers, following many pathways through higher education. They need a system that is flexible, affordable and responsive to their needs. Federal policy must reflect who today’s students are.
Quality & Outcomes
High-quality outcomes are paramount, but current quality assurance approaches are inadequate. The nation needs a system of quality assurance based on high-quality learning and focused on students and their outcomes. Federal policy must raise the bar for quality, promote innovation and shift from inputs to outcomes.
2020 & Higher Learning Advocates
Your State’s Higher Education Profile
Today’s Adult Students
Many adult students have different responsibilities—including work and family—on their path to a degree or credential. Sixty-four percent of students work either full-time or part-time. One quarter of students are parents, and 49 percent are financially independent. With different responsibilities, adult students need policies that cater directly to their needs.
Champions Network: Bipartisan Leaders United for Today’s Students
The Higher Learning Advocates Champions Network is a group of forward-thinking state and local leaders devoted to improving quality, outcomes and affordability in postsecondary education. Learn more about how these reformers are driving student success through student-focused policies and practices at the state and local level. Discover more about the Champions Network.
Our Higher Education Act (HEA) recommendations are for the critical improvements that are needed to remedy the disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, and ensure our federal higher education programs work for the current and future generations.
Higher Education Policy: 101
Complex policy issues need simple explanations. Featuring visual infographics, compact definitions anduser-friendly explanations, our 101 explainers offer policymakers, analysts and media a quick and easy to consume explanation of key policy issues in postsecondary education.
Latest News and Resources
Voices of Reform
Teresa Lubbers says, The pandemic has accelerated where we’ve been heading for some time in higher education, including the broader adoption of learning in a virtual environment. When we stop to consider, however, that each step along the way has been an opportunity to develop and improve our systems and processes, we see that the innovation and perseverance higher education is known for positions us to play a key and unique role in where we go from here.
Commissioner, Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education
Denise Forte says, Today, even though the U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse, Black and Latino adults are less likely to hold a college degree than White adults did in 1990, and are underrepresented at public colleges and universities in nearly every state.
Senior Vice President for Partnerships and Engagement, Education Trust
Sara Goldrick-Rab says, When Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act, it must invest in a higher education system that leverages talent in order to propel innovation, create healthier communities, and fuel a more just economy that works for all. Doing so requires a clear focus on supporting today’s #RealCollege students.
Founder of the Hope Center for College Community and Justice in Philadelphia, and Professor of Higher Education and Sociology at Temple University
Amber Angel says, Within the framework of equity, institutions of higher education need to take a look at how student parents are represented and served. Are there adequate policies in place to support parenting students? Are there appropriate professional training opportunities so that staff and faculty are well-versed in who they are serving?
Joey Hatch says, I’m a fervent believer in offering our citizens access to a college education that is not only affordable, but also quality, meaningful and connected to growing employment opportunities.
Retired Executive Vice President, Skanska USA Building Inc.
Melanie D’Evelyn says, Our belief is that the same policy innovations that meet business needs can also increase educational equity and success across the region. Initial results are promising.
Director, Detroit Drives Degrees