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
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.
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
Higher Learning Advocates & Sixty Partner Organizations Urge Congress to Include the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act in the Next Relief Package
WASHINGTON (June 17, 2020) — Sixty-one organizations came together today to urge Congress to include the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students …
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
Hon. Margaret Spellings says, Opportunity is not a zero-sum game — we all benefit when more students have the chance to succeed in a growing economy, and we all gain from a more educated citizenry that better reflects the changing face of our nation.
Hon. Margaret Spellings
President of the University of North Carolina System
Michale McComis, Ed.D. says, Change happens because need happens—and we have a need in accreditation to think about change and reform with a focus on student success
Michale McComis, Ed.D.
Executive Director and CEO, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
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
Julie Peller says, It is time once again for the nation’s policymakers to fundamentally rethink the way we organize, finance and support higher learning. Through bipartisan cooperation, a hard-nosed look at the research, and an unwavering focus on students, that goal is well within reach.
Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates
India Heckstall says, To build an equitable higher education system worthy of the name, we must respond to the new disparities that affect the working adult, the student parent, the returning veteran, and others. Only then can higher education live up to its fundamental promise of upward mobility and complete the work begun by the equity and civil rights pioneers generations ago.
Program Associate, Higher Learning Advocates