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.
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
Voices of Reform
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
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
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
Jorden Favors says, A school is only as successful as its most vulnerable population.
Student, Pomona College
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?
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