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
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.
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.
Latest News and Resources
Voices of Reform
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
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
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
Robert Wright says, The Pell Grant allowed me to receive an education that mentally and emotionally prepared me for reentry back into a society that isn’t always welcoming for people like me. With this education came options that will prevent me from reaching moments of desperation.
Research Assistant at the Center for Justice at Columbia University
Dr. Kim Hunter Reed says, If higher education is to fulfill its mission of delivering opportunity and socials mobility to all Americans, we will need to craft a new policy agenda that puts student outcomes at the center.
Dr. Kim Hunter Reed
Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education