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.
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.
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 Applauds Passage of the CARES Act, Which Includes Higher Education Provisions to Support Today’s Students
WASHINGTON (March 27, 2020) — Julie Peller, Executive Director of Higher Learning Advocates, made the following statement in response to the higher education p…
Higher Learning Advocates Comments on Critical Higher Ed Provisions for Today’s Students in Leader McConnell’s COVID-19 Package
WASHINGTON (March 19, 2020) — Julie Peller, Executive Director of Higher Learning Advocates, made the following statement in response to the higher education p…
Voices of Reform
Rose García says, As Congress works to reauthorize HEA, it must invest in holistic student success models that incorporate a strong anti-poverty, racial equity focus. These models must couple clear and guided pathways with comprehensive academic and financial supports. They must also connect students to public benefits, mental health services, cultural and community centers, and other campus and community resources that allow them to thrive in school and beyond.
Director of Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development at the Center for Law and Social Policy
Jan Yoshiwara says, Higher education has an opportunity, and an imperative, to shift the cultural perceptions and attitudes around what intelligence and talent looks like in today’s world and economy.
Executive Director, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Nia Ariel Davis Sigona, Esq. says, I am constantly and consistently inspired by today’s students, and the potential and privilege to translate their stories and experiences into systems of policy that support their (and all of our) success.
Nia Ariel Davis Sigona, Esq.
Government Relations Director, Higher Learning Advocates
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
F. King Alexander says, If our nation is serious about solving the higher education crisis and remaining a beacon of social mobility, then any true attempt at reauthorization must include a federal-state partnership that uses federal dollars to incentivize better state investment and behavior.
F. King Alexander
President of Louisiana State University
Dr. Angela Boatman says, It is my hope that we, as a field, continue to identify policies and practices in education that help all people move toward their own fullest capabilities; to feel included rather than excluded, and to feel empowered rather than powerless. I believe this is the most important work we can do, both for our colleges and for our democracy.
Dr. Angela Boatman
Associate Professor, Boston College