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.
Voices of Today’s Students
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
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
Dr. Kim Hunter Reed says, Our students need champions who believe in their unlimited potential.
Dr. Kim Hunter Reed
Commissioner, Lousiana Commission of Higher Education
Katherine Wheatle says, In this historical collective moment that we face today, it is only fitting that students are connecting what’s happening in the world around them to their educational experiences and challenging the system to expand and transform to better fit their needs.
Strategy Officer for Finance and Federal Policy, Lumina Foundation
Dr. Dewayne Matthews says, "I honestly believe there is no more urgent task facing our nation than to build a system that helps Americans gain the skills to go as far as their desire, effort, and talent can take them."
Dr. Dewayne Matthews
Senior Fellow, Lumina Foundation
Jeremy Rossman says, When my co-founder and I started Make School, we quickly realized that to rewire higher education from the ground up would require creating a new incentive system—one in which students and their families aren’t the only ones with a financial stake in the ultimate outcome of education.
Founder of Make School
Emily Bouck says, To equip students with the skills for workforce success and respond to the pressures of economic disruption, we need a system of higher learning that enables students of all ages and family circumstances to seamlessly continue, return to, and complete their education.
Policy & Advocacy Director, Higher Learning Advocates