Our one-pagers provide top-line summaries of our evidence-based, data-driven research and timely, nonpartisan recommendations.
IHEP Federal Policy Priorities
Use this resource to identify opportunities for federal policymakers, including members of Congress and Department of Education officials, to advance evidence-based, equity-driven higher education policy reform.
College Transparency Act
The current system of higher education is data rich, but information poor. Our existing postsecondary data systems are incomplete, duplicative, inefficient, burdensome, and – worst of all – cannot answer pressing questions about student success and educational equity. The College Transparency Act would fix that.
Rising Above The Threshold: How Expansions in Financial Aid Can Increase the Equitable Delivery of Postsecondary Value for More Students
This report uses publicly available data to find that at least 2,414 institutions, enrolling 18.3 million undergraduates nationwide, typically deliver a minimum economic return to students, defined as Threshold 0. Students meet Threshold 0 if they earn at least as much as a high school graduate, plus enough to recoup their investment in college within ten years. But approximately 500 institutions, enrolling nearly 1.5 million undergraduate students, do not meet this threshold. Affordability is part of the reason why.
The following one-pager includes data-driven actionable recommendations for policymakers to increase equitable value for students including doubling the maximum award available through the federal Pell Grant and implementing free college programs:
“The Most Important Door That Will Ever Open:” Realizing the Mission of Higher Education Through Equitable Recruitment, Admissions, and Enrollment Policies
Earning a college credential can mean a better living and a better life for students and their families. But to earn that credential, students must first navigate the admissions process. Education is indeed a door, but recruitment, admissions, and enrollment policies and practices dictate how wide that door is open. Creating a more equitable and just higher education system starts with implementing equitable admissions practices. The following eight TMID one-pagers support higher education practitioners, leaders, and policymakers in promoting an equitable approach to each of the policies addressed in our report:
Rethinking Recruitment Tool
Colleges and universities wield enormous power in deciding who reaps the benefits of a college degree, and anti-racist and anti-classist recruitment policies have the potential to build a more equitable and just society. As outlined in this tool, college admissions have the power to replace practices that perpetuate and deepen racial and socioeconomic disparities with practices that promote equitable opportunity for all potential students.
Rethinking Demonstrated Interest Tool
Demonstrated interest policies, which favor applicants who express interest in enrolling at a given college, exacerbate inequities in college access for low-income, first-generation, and rural students. By choosing to consider demonstrated interest in admissions decisions, institutions enable privileged students to “work the system” to their advantage.
Eliminating Early Decision Deadlines Tool
Many colleges and universities offer applicants multiple application deadlines. Through early admissions policies, institutions have created a tiered approach to their application deadlines that turns a positive unwritten rule—being an early bird—into a policy that advantages applicants with the most resources. Binding early decision deadlines, which require students to commit to attend an institution if admitted, offer advantages to students who are most likely to attend and benefit from college in the first place.
Ending Legacy Admissions Tool
Legacy admissions policies are designed to give preference to applicants based on their familial relationship to alumni, typically benefitting White and wealthy students whose families have had the privilege to attend college for centuries. By definition, these policies perpetuate the racism of decades past when our higher education system was closed to Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.
Rethinking The Role of Standardized Tests Tool
Although proponents of the SAT and ACT argue that these tests help identify high-achieving students from underserved backgrounds, they actually serve as a gatekeeper to the opportunities higher education offers. Further, this notion of finding a “diamond in the rough,” which is itself a problematic idea, runs counter to the notion that all students can be successful. On their face, test scores appear to be a neutral judge, but in practice, they perpetuate racial and socioeconomic disparities.
Eliminating The Use of Criminal Justice Information Tool
Higher education admissions applications should collect and consider information relevant for determining whether a potential student can succeed at their institution. Criminal justice information (CJI) does not meet this threshold. In fact, collecting and considering CJI in college admissions perpetuates inequities within higher education.
Strengthening Transfer Pathways Tool
Beginning the postsecondary journey at a community college often is touted as a viable and more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. For some students, the high costs of attending a four-year institution may feel insurmountable. Others find that family obligations and work responsibilities make the flexibility and ability to stay close to home appealing. Additionally, the opportunity to demonstrate academic ability in a college setting can help students gain confidence, while increasing their odds of admission to more selective four-year institutions down the road. Unfortunately, the research on transfer pathways suggests that all too often, institutional barriers halt student progress. Too few selective four-year institutions have transfer policies that meet the needs of aspiring community college transfer students,4 including many Black, Latinx, Indigenous, underrepresented Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and students from low-income backgrounds.
Investing in Need-Based Financial Aid Tool
Need-based financial aid is a critical support for students from low-income and low-wealth backgrounds, many of whom are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or underrepresented Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). Yet many public institutions provide large grants to students who can already afford college. In fact, between 2001 and 2017, 339 public four-year universities awarded at least $32 billion (roughly 40 percent) of their total institutional aid to students without financial need.
Stakeholder Equity Assessment Tool
Use this tool to apply an equity lens when identifying community partners to include in the Stakeholder Engagement Process. Completing the template will help you assess the stakeholders in your community and the solutions they offer to the challenges your community seeks to address.
What is a Transfer Affordability Guarantee (TAG)?
A Transfer Affordability Guarantee (TAG) is a student-centered and equity-driven partnership between institutions that respects students’ investment of time and money into higher education. Institutions that offer a TAG ensure that students can complete a bachelor’s degree in a timely manner by supporting them through a mapped pathway, guaranteeing that all credits apply to completion, and clearly defining cost and time-to-degree.
Student Success Technology Innovation Map
Use this tool to plan and evaluate campus technologies based on the degree they support of student success outcomes.
Op-Ed Storytelling Tool
Meaning “opposite the editorial page,” an op-ed expresses the opinions of an author not associated with the publishing news outlet. Our Op-Ed Storytelling Tool supports you in effectively deploying an opinion piece to elevate a community’s shared voice, bring awareness to an issue and identify recommendations for policymakers.
Use this tool to protect individual privacy when sharing postsecondary student data.
Priorities for Higher Education Act for Reauthorization
Use this tool to promote equity-driven priorities to policymakers.