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.
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
Higher Learning Advocates & 13 Partners Ask ED to Issue Guidance Related to Student Mental Health
WASHINGTON (May 3, 2021) — Today, Higher Learning Advocates and 13 partner organizations submitted a letter to Secretary Cardona, asking the Department of Educ…
Higher Learning Advocates’ Statement on the American Families Plan
WASHINGTON (April 28, 2021) — This morning, the Biden Administration announced the American Families Plan, which includes important provisions that would impro…
Higher Learning Advocates and 62 Partners Urge Congress to Increase CCAMPIS Funding
WASHINGTON (April 27, 2021) — Today, Higher Learning Advocates and 62 partner organizations sent a letter to Congress to express our strong support for increas…
Voices of Reform
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
John Englehart says, ...[T]oday’s students need real legislation and policy to come to life that can help students like myself afford a college journey and make the American dream a reality not just for students, but also the families we are raising.
Graduate, University of Maryland University College
Denise Forte says, Today, even though the U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse, Black and Latino adults are less likely to hold a college degree than White adults did in 1990, and are underrepresented at public colleges and universities in nearly every state.
Senior Vice President for Partnerships and Engagement, Education Trust
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
Charla Long says, CBE is no panacea, but done well, it can deliver a strong value proposition for students, especially those who might otherwise not have access to higher education. The key to delivering on that promise is an unwavering focus on quality and careful design. In other words, if we want to increase the number of online CBE programs anytime soon, we have to get serious now.
Executive Director, Competency-Based Education Network
Amber Angel says, Within the framework of equity, institutions of higher education need to take a look at how student parents are represented and served. Are there adequate policies in place to support parenting students? Are there appropriate professional training opportunities so that staff and faculty are well-versed in who they are serving?