New Higher Education Campaign Launches to Highlight  Changing Experiences of Today’s Students Through Their Stories

Voices of Today’s Students campaign shares stories about the triumphs and tribulations students face and the various pathways they take through higher education

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 22, 2018) — Today, Higher Learning Advocates, a national bipartisan advocacy organization working to modernize higher education policy, announced the launch of Voices of Today’s Students, a new campaign aimed at elevating videos and other short stories highlighting the various pathways that today’s students take through higher education.

The campaign will collect stories from a diverse set of students, including parents, working adults, veterans, online students, and first-generation college-goers. While the perception of college students often remains largely rooted in the traditional 18-22-year-old residential student, many of today’s students do not fit that picture: 38 percent are older than 25; 58 percent work while in college; 47 percent are financially independent; and 42 percent live at or below the federal poverty level.

“Today’s students are parents, working adults, veterans, first-generation college students and studying online and part-time. We need a system of higher learning that enables all of today’s students to access and succeed in higher education,” said Julie Peller, Executive Director of Higher Learning Advocates. “This campaign is setting out to put an exclamation point on one simple fact: today’s students’ experiences, challenges, and needs have changed. It’s time that the nation’s higher education policies change as well, and we hope that Voices of Today’s Students will further those critical conversations.”

Voices of Today’s Students provides a platform for students to share their stories about their hardships and pathways through higher education that are pivotal to informing policy. After months of outreach and collecting student stories, Higher Learning Advocates will share out student stories with policymakers and the public to further a needed conversation about the changing nature of today’s students and the supports they need to receive an educational experience that is accessible, affordable, and leads to their success.

Collecting and Sharing Student Stories

Higher Learning Advocates is inviting students and higher education organizations to share their stories using an easy-to-use upload form. To share a story, students should visit and follow the prompts for submitting a video or text story about their journey through higher education. Organizations interested in becoming more involved with the campaign can send an email to or access our public engagement toolkit with more resources for outreach.

For full details on Higher Learning Advocates and the Voices of Today’s Students campaign, go to

Fast Facts on Today’s Students

  • 58% work while in college
  • 57% attend two-year colleges
  • 47% are financially independent
  • 42% are at or below federal poverty level
  • 40% attend school part-time
  • 38% leave school within their first year
  • 38% are older than 25
  • 26% are parents
  • 13% live on campus
  • 4% are veterans

Learn more by reading 101: Today’s Students by Higher Learning Advocates.

Watch Our Explainer Video


Higher Learning Advocates is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. We support a system of higher learning that is student-centered, equitable, outcomes-based, and focused on educational quality by advocating for policies that are based on student outcomes, make postsecondary education and student aid work for today’s students, and ensure access and affordability. We are bipartisan, strategically minded, and focused on improving postsecondary access and success for all students. To learn more, please visit, follow us on Twitter @HigherLearnADV and sign up for email updates.