Who are Today’s Students?
of today’s students are older than 25.
of students are part-time.
of undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college.
are at or below the federal poverty level.
of students are financially independent.
of students are raising children while studying.
Students of Color:
African-American student enrollment grew
between 1996 and 2020, while Hispanic enrollment grew by
of students work while in college.
post-9/11 veterans have used G.I. Bill benefits to complete their degrees.
of students live on campus.
While more students are participating in higher education than ever before, there is a vast and growing disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, employers, and communities. Federal policy can, and should, support the needs of today’s students to ensure that more students not only access postsecondary learning but have the tools they need to succeed.
Support Returning Students
Reform federal student aid rules to remove barriers to reentry, including lifetime eligibility caps and satisfactory academic progress rules, for students coming back to higher education.
Count Income Correctly
Reform federal financial aid formulas to allow for more accurate and generous accounting of income and assets for independent students and student parents.
Update Work Study
Reform Federal Work Study to incent completion, expand Job Location Development Programs, ease requirements for off-campus work, and incentivize the connection between aid and course of study.
Simplify Student Loan Programs
Streamline critical elements of federal student loans, including the FAFSA and verification and income-driven repayment options.
Support Student Parents
Expand funding for campus-connected child care and allow institutions to use funds for partnerships to provide emergency child care options for student parents.
Connect Federal Need Based Programs
Provide connections for low-income students to federal need-based aid programs, including by notifying low-income students they may be eligible for food assistance through SNAP.
Address Financial Barriers
Incentivize institutions of higher education to address financial barriers to completion, including textbook costs and with micro-grants targeted at completion.
Support Changing Models of Instruction
Reform federal student aid rules and oversight to encourage effective and high-quality new models focused on outcomes, such as competency-based education.
Recognize New Programs and Providers
Allow students to receive federal student aid for attendance at high-quality short-term programs and high-quality, approved non-institutional programs, including apprenticeships and employer-based training.
Connect Learning Opportunities
Allow federal student aid to be used for dual enrollment programs and payment of prior learning assessments.