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.
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.
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.
Latest News and Resources
Higher Learning Advocates & 29 Partners Applauds the Passage of the National Student Parent Month Resolution
WASHINGTON (September 22, 2021) — Today, Higher Learning Advocates and 29 partner organizations sent a letter to Senator Tammy Duckworth and Senator Jerry Mora…
Inside Higher Ed: First-Year Students Struggled With Online Learning Last Year
"Emily Bouck West, deputy executive director for Higher Learning Advocates, which has been lobbying for broadband affordability programs for students, was pl…
Voices of Reform
Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. says, The promise of higher education is truly fulfilled when all students who begin the task of earning a degree successfully complete the journey.
Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D.
President, The Institute for Higher Education Policy
Moises Mendoza says, There are so many brilliant students that never make it to college because of the complicated process. If we make college more accessible the brilliant students from my high school would not only improve the college communities but also the country as a whole.
Scholar, Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America
Ashley Harrington says, Because we know [of] substantial racial income and wealth gaps are a reality in this country, and we know that wealth and income, though sometimes related, are by no means equivalent, we must create policies that make access to the middle-class and wealth building open to everyone, explicitly recognizing and accounting for the extra challenges faced by borrowers of color.
Federal Advocacy Director, Center for Responsible Lending
Hon. Margaret Spellings says, Opportunity is not a zero-sum game — we all benefit when more students have the chance to succeed in a growing economy, and we all gain from a more educated citizenry that better reflects the changing face of our nation.
Hon. Margaret Spellings
President of the University of North Carolina System
Jordan DiMaggio says, Online students are often adults, working parents, veterans, those with disabilities, and others who are often taking these courses to meet their varied needs or busy lives. They do so for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they require flexibility that traditional on-campus courses can only sometimes accommodate.
Director of Policy and Digital Strategy, UPCEA
Mike Krause says, The perception of the average American college student is not correct, and we must ensure these shifting demographics are reflected in the policy development process. The notion that 18-year-old freshman serve as the foundation for how we view college and universities has to change.
Executive Director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission