National Survey Results

How Well Do We Really Know Today's Students?

How well do members of the general public – and Education Insiders – understand the realities facing today’s students?

Public perceptions of college students typically come from a favorite past-time movie – involving a recent high school graduate who lives on campus, always surrounded by a group of friends, and has the luxury of their parents paying all their expenses (e.g. tuition, rent, groceries).

The reality is that today’s students are more racially diverse, financially independent, older, and have more time constraints than ever before. As of 2015, 41% of today’s college students are older than 25 years-old meanwhile 42% of colleges students live at or below the federal poverty line. The narratives for today’s students are rapidly shifting and we found it essential to test the public and Education Insiders on evolving student demographics.

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Get our exclusive new research examining how well the general public and policy insiders understand the needs of today’s college students. Fill out the form below to download the findings.


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What People are Saying:

“As the reauthorization of the higher education act looms large, [this survey] underscore[s] the urgency of raising awareness about the emerging profile of today’s students in need of greater support and resources from a federal policy perspective. The imperative of creating pathways for continuous learning…demands that we rethink our approach to the finance and delivery of higher education in profound ways.”

-George Miller, former House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman

Rep. George Miller

More from Higher Learning Advocates

Share Student Stories

Through our Voices of Today’s Students campaign, we’re on a mission to share stories from today’s students, whether they are parents, working adults, veterans, or first-generation college students. Learn more about this project and how you can share student stories from your network.

Read the National Op-Ed

Former House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman George Miller and Higher Learning Advocates executive director Julie Peller write in The Hill that policy leaders today have the opportunity to update the Higher Education Act to better serve the emerging needs of students who are more racially diverse, older, and more likely to work while in school.