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
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.
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.
Latest News and Resources
Today’s Students Need Continued Policy Reforms in Response to COVID-19
To support today’s students during and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the Department of Education must take critical steps by removing outd…
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…
Voices of Reform
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
Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. says, College changed the course of my life – and fueled a desire for social justice and equity in society...However, for many people, achieving the American dream still often depends on their zip code, family income, or skin color. I imagine a world where that is no longer the case – and am working to promote higher education to make that vision a reality.
Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D.
President, Institute for Higher Education 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
Dr. Barbara Damron says, Educational opportunity is not only key to getting a good job in today’s economy, but it can also keep individuals out of the criminal justice and public assistance systems, and promote healthier and more prosperous lives for them and their family members. I feel that every day we work in the student success movement, we're doing work that will save lives.
Dr. Barbara Damron
Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Higher Education Department
Pam Bowers says, Improving the quality of student learning data advances an institution’s ability to report student learning achievement on transcripts; conduct analyses to gain insights into student persistence, timely graduation, and post-graduation employment; and to advance institutional effectiveness.
Associate Vice President, University of South Carolina
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