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
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.
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.
Latest News and Resources
Voices of Reform
Deborah Santiago says, Policies, programs, and institutional efforts that adapt to better serve Latino students are more likely to serve all of their students better. In the same vein, federal financial aid policy that applies a Latino lens can serve today’s students better.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Excelencia in Education
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
Jamie Merisotis says, I believe that higher ed policy offers the chance to help millions of people take good fortune out of the equation, creating opportunities to succeed for their own benefit and for the benefit of all Americans.
President and CEO, Lumina Foundation
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
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
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