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
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.
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.
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
Money: Why It’s So Hard for College Students Who Are Parents to Actually Earn Their Degrees
"Tysa Rose had done everything she was supposed to when she enrolled in her local community college in Fargo, North Dakota, two years ago. She signed up for cl…
U.S. News & World Report: College Enrollment Caps – What to Know
"Public colleges and universities were designed to serve the educational needs of those who live in the state. To uphold that mission, some schools and states …
Voices of Reform
Jordan DiMaggio says, Online students are often adults, working parents, veterans, those with disabilities, and others who are often taking these courses to meet their varied needs or busy lives. They do so for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they require flexibility that traditional on-campus courses can only sometimes accommodate.
Director of Policy and Digital Strategy, UPCEA
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
Leah Matthews says, During this time of unprecedented challenges, student learning outcomes must remain at the center of the education enterprise – from curricula to faculty to learning management systems to resources and, to the furthest extent possible, practica. With the precious time that we have left this summer, it is essential that institutions evaluate the quality of distance education, make changes ahead of the fall term, and envision accountability for the future.
Executive Director, Distance Education Accrediting Commission
Ryan Craig says, America needs a thriving traditional system of colleges and universities that minimizes debt and maximizes workforce and civic potential. Achieving this goal means facing the crisis of graduate employability and rethinking our current system of accreditation.
Managing Director, University Ventures
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
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