For millions of Americans, the potential that a college education presents goes unrealized. Graduation rates are too low; the prevalence of low-value credentials is too high; and rising costs put a college education out of reach for many. The challenges facing postsecondary education students today loom larger than ever, with millions of students shunted to online education as a result of the pandemic and personal financial challenges steeper than they’ve ever been. Still, plenty of evidence indicates that these barriers can be overcome with well-considered, carefully designed, evidence-based interventions that improve student success and lead more students to reap the benefits of a high-quality degree.
That’s why America Forward, MDRC, New America, Results for America (RFA), and The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) all support greater use of evidence and data in postsecondary policymaking. Today, we are publishing this compilation of memos for the Biden-Harris Administration, with a primer from MDRC and RFA on what the research tells us about what works in higher education; a postsecondary learning agenda for the Education Department from New America; and a proposal from America Forward and RFA establishing a tiered evidence fund to renew innovation and expand proven practices across higher education institutions. These critical priorities will help ensure the Administration does everything it can to help current and future students succeed.
Contributors: America Forward, MDRC, New America, Results for America