Resources / Reports / “Opening the Promise:” The Five Principles of Equitable Policymaking

“Opening the Promise:” The Five Principles of Equitable Policymaking

Published Jan 2022
focus area Barriers in Justice and Education

Postsecondary education has the potential to transform lives by providing economic and non-economic benefits to students, their families, communities, the workforce, and ultimately the entire world—but only if the policies that shape that system are themselves equitable. To support more inclusive and deliberate policymaking processes at every level of government and within institutions of higher education, IHEP convened an Advisory Committee for Equitable Policymaking Processes and, on the one-year anniversary of Executive Order 13985, released “Opening The Promise:” The Five Principles of Equitable Policymaking.

This report sets forth an actionable framework informed by insights from more than two dozen experts across the field of higher education. The framework’s five interrelated principles are designed to inform every aspect of the policymaking process, from the creation of new policy and amending of existing policy, to determining priorities and setting the course of action for a policymaking body.

The current system yields inequitable outcomes. For example, while 48 percent of White adults have an associate’s degree or higher, this is true for 32 percent of Black adults, 24 percent of Latinx adults, 25 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native adults, and 28 percent of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults. These five principles are designed to address inequities like the growing racial college completion gap, and build a fair, inclusive, and just system of higher education that serves all students—Black and White, Indigenous and Latinx, Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI), and all other identities, backgrounds, and circumstances.