Our Work

Higher Education Policy

Our nation has a rich history of recognizing higher education as vital to both individual and societal advancement. From the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as well as the GI Bill of 1944 and the Post-9/11 GI Bill of 2008, policymakers have wisely sought to make a college education–and all of the many benefits associated with it–available to as many people as possible. Our federal government’s sustained investments in higher education build upon this foundation to promote college access, affordability, and completion.

APLU advocates for improvements in higher education policy and increased investment in federal financial aid to Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies. APLU priorities include expanding access to postsecondary learning for students of all ages and backgrounds, ensuring that students have the financial resources they need to pay for complete their education, and providing students with the tools and information they need to succeed and complete their credential or degree and successfully enter the workforce. APLU engages lawmakers in the annual appropriations process, advocating for increased investments in federal student aid, the Pell Grant Program, as well as federal programs that bolster in campus-based aid, college access, international studies, and graduate education.

Featured Priorities

Current federal data paints an incomplete picture of student outcomes, failing to count all students’ accomplishments and leaving prospective students in the dark as they make important decisions on academic programs and institutions. The College Transparency Act would require the National Center for Education Statistics to establish a secure and privacy-protected data system to provide much more robust information to help empower students as consumers, support evidence-based policymaking, and provide colleges and universities new tools to assess their programs and implement initiatives to boost student success. With CTA, we would have much more complete aggregate information on academic programs and institutions, including success of student veterans, part-time students, distance education students, data on debt levels, and information on race, gender, first-generation status, and other disaggregations to help institutions tackle equity gaps.

For nearly a decade, APLU, the public university community, and partners spanning a broad array of organizations representing industry, students, veterans, and many others have led the effort to lift the ban on student-level data to give students, policymakers, and schools critical information on student outcomes to help shape their decision and work to improve outcomes.

APLU has played a central role in the development and advocacy for the legislation.

APLU Statement (2/4/2022): APLU Hails House Passage of College Transparency Act
IHEP (2/2022): CTA Endorsed by Nearly 150 Organizations

Double Pell Badge

The Pell Grant is the nation’s foundational investment in higher education and helps nearly seven million students attend and complete college annually. In the mid-1970s, the Pell Grant maximum covered more than three-quarters of the total cost of attendance of a four-year public college. While Pell Grants continue to help students pay for college, decades of state disinvestment in public higher education have substantially contributed to the maximum grant now covering less than one-third of these costs.

Doubling the maximum Pell Grant will help more students earn a degree, get a good-paying job, and ensure greater economic mobility. APLU, as a leader of the #DoublePell Alliance is working to double the maximum Pell grant to help more students earn a degree and secure a brighter future.

Public universities have spent years creating and testing solutions to help students succeed in college, complete their degrees, and be well-prepared for the workforce. These efforts have achieved significant success at individual institutions, but have not yet been fully brought to scale across the higher education sector. A federal investment designed to both expand the evidence base for completion strategies and turbocharge the scaling of best practices could make a significant difference for students who stand to gain life-changing economic security and prosperity from completing a college education.

This first-of-its-kind federal investment would complement existing higher education programs focused on access and affordability, and boost the likelihood of students completing their degree program and successfully transitioning into the workforce. The Fund represents a significant investment in student success, providing access to supports such as academic transition and support services, emergency financial aid, and other key assistance. APLU believes the program could help scale many of the evidence-based and innovative new student success practices our member institutions are implementing on campuses across the country.

February 2022: Higher Education Community Letter
October 2021: Policy Brief: Investing in Students College Completion
September 2021: APLU letter in support of the College Completion Fund