Serving students in higher education means...

Learn The Facts

More critical now than ever before.

For too long, higher education policy at the federal level has been focused on what is good for institutions, not what is best for students. Colleges and universities have powerful lobbyists and access to Members of Congress and their staff, and for decades policymakers have assumed that what those voices want is the same as what students need.

As Congress works to update the Higher Education Act, we must shift the focus to where it should be: ensuring that higher education is truly serving its students. 

Serving students in higher education means guaranteeing all students can access and complete a high-quality program that equips them to get a good job and pay off their loans.

FACT: We have a leaky pipeline in higher education, as only half of all students who enter postsecondary education earn a degree.
FACT: College should be a ladder out of poverty, but the system is failing lower-income students. Today, fewer than 15% of low-income students get a four-year degree, while more than 6 in 10 wealthy students do.
FACT: Right now, accreditors that approve higher education institutions and give them access to federal grants and loans are not required to look at whether their students are actually able to graduate, get good jobs, and repay their loans.

Serving students in higher education means guaranteeing all students can access and complete a high-quality program that equips them to get a good job and pay off their loans.

Resources:

Serving students in higher education means ensuring all students can afford to attend the institution of their choice and limited resources are targeted at low-income students who need them most.

FACT: We used to have a deal that if you worked a minimum wage job and got a Pell Grant, you would afford the cost of college. That deal has fallen apart. The Pell Grant used to cover 80% of college costs at a public four-year college, but today, covers less than a third.
FACT: One in five of today's students are parents, meaning they must find child care options to help them manage work, family, and academics. Just 8% of single mothers who enroll in college graduate with an associate or bachelor's degree within six years, compared with 49% of female students without children.
FACT: Current law prohibits the use of Pell by incarcerated students and persons convicted of a drug offense while receiving federal student aid. These restrictions disproportionately block students of color and low-income students from accessing and affording higher education.

Serving students in higher education means ensuring all students can afford to attend the institution of their choice and limited resources are targeted at low-income students who need them most.

Resources:

Serving students in higher education means crafting all policies to accomplish the historical mission of the Higher Education Act: helping students who have been traditionally underserved.

FACT: Children from families in the top 1% are 77 times more likely to attend an elite college compared to the children from low-income families.
FACT: Pell students graduate at a rate of 18 percentage points less than their non-Pell peers, and 80% of institutions have a Pell gap, graduating their Pell students at a lower rate than non-Pell.
FACT: A white college dropout is less likely to default on their loans than a black college graduate.

Serving students in higher education means crafting all policies to accomplish the historical mission of the Higher Education Act: helping students who have been traditionally underserved.

Resources:

Resource Page “Moving On Up?”

To learn more please contact:

Tamara Hiler
Third Way
Clare McCann
New America
Emily Bouck
Higher Learning Advocates
Carrie Warick
National College Access Network
Ben Miller
Center for American Progress
Mamie Voight
The Institute for Higher Education Policy
Deborah Santiago
Excelencia in Education
Rachel Fleischer
Young Invincibles