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
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.
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.
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.
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
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) says, If our nation is going to confront the challenges of the twenty-first century economy, it is imperative that we equip future generations of Americans with the tools they need to succeed and the opportunity to pursue dignified work.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
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
Denise Pearson says, As a first-generation college graduate employed by an organization that promotes equity in higher education policies and practices, I am encouraged by ongoing conversations and actions among higher education policymakers and others that aim to improve access and outcomes for all students, regardless of their starting point in life and particularly among underrepresented (also referred to as “underestimated”) citizens of America.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Equity Initiatives, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)
Scott Cheney says, But for market-based policies and approaches to have the greatest chance of the best outcomes, and to be their most efficient and effective, there has to be a full and intentional commitment to open data and transparency. Without it, markets almost always skew toward the overwhelming benefit of those actors who own the data—in this case, institutions, providers, and systems—not students, workers, veterans, employers and the public.
Executive Director, Credential Engine
Dr. José Luis Cruz says, There are millions of students who are coming of age in America today, but -- because of the color of their skin, the balance of their checking account, their place of origin, or the tenets of their faith -- have not been afforded the opportunities they need to meet their full potential.
Dr. José Luis Cruz
President, Herbert H. Lehman College of The City University of New York
Michele Siqueiros says, I am passionate about the role policy can play to change people's lives. It changed mine. It’s policy that gave me a Cal grant. It's policy that allowed me to get a federally-subsidized loan so that what seemed unaffordable became affordable.
President, The Campaign for College Opportunity