Policy

Federal policy was designed to meet the needs of students during the 1960’s and ‘70’s. We need to modernize and reform federal higher education policy to meet today’s challenges and better serve today’s students.

The Challenge

Degree completion is not keeping up

Degree completion is not keeping up with workforce and community needs.

There are 31 million adults with some college credit, but no degree. Despite more students attending college, they are more likely to leave with debt than a completed degree. We need a system designed to drive both access and completion.

Today's students are different

Today’s students are different.

Federal higher education policies were largely created at a time when students went to college immediately after high school. Today’s students are more diverse in age, race, income and work experience. They lead different lives. We need a system that serves their interests.

Quality assurance is outdated

Quality assurance is outdated.

Taxpayers spend more $150 billion on postsecondary education annually. But we ask little of providers’ outcomes in return. We need a system of higher learning that values quality and student outcomes above all else.

Skills and knowledge are key

Skills and knowledge are at the crossroads.

New technologies and market trends are expected to displace up to 1.4 million American jobs by 2026. We need a system of higher learning that enables continuous education and learning beyond high school.

Learning and credentials are evolving

Learning and credentials are evolving.

One in four Americans has a non-degree credential, such as a certificate or certification. We need a system of higher learning that recognizes and supports all high-quality learning wherever it happens.

The Solution: A New System of Higher Learning

Achieving a system of higher learning requires bringing together bipartisan ideas and refocusing federal policies on what today’s students need. We need better connections between providers and the credentials they issue so that students do not need to recertify learning they already have. And we need federal policies that create and support transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve outcomes.

Featured Issue Briefs

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    Low-income, Black, and Latinx students are underrepresented at selective colleges and universities. Only 34 percent of low-income students with high standardiz…

Today’s Students

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.

Latest News and Resources

  • The Playbook for Today’s Students

    Higher learning is the ticket to economic opportunity for Americans, as well as to rebuilding our country's economy. But we are failing too many of today's stu…

  • Executive Director Julie Peller and Higher Learning Advocates’ Board Members Urge Congress to Support Students’ Immediate Needs

    WASHINGTON (November 30, 2020) — Executive Director Julie Peller and Higher Learning Advocates' Board of Directors wrote to Congress to highlight the immediate…

  • Higher Learning Advocates & Twenty-Seven Partner Organizations Call to Prioritize Higher Education in the Biden Administration

    WASHINGTON (November 23, 2020) — Twenty-eight organizations came together today to urge President-Elect Biden and his transition team to prioritize higher educ…