Today’s Student

Too many Americans are failing to graduate college. Why? In part, because our assumptions about them are wrong. Most of us envision college students as 18- to 21-year-olds fresh out of high school. That’s no longer the reality.

The good news: Favorable policies can change the equation

Updating federal policies could help address factors at the heart of challenges that today’s students face – such as finances, work, and family – and boost success. Needed changes include:

  • Improving data collection to better inform decision making.
  • Rethinking how financial aid is allocated.
  • Creating flexibility in federal policies so colleges and universities can innovate responsibly to meet students’ needs.

Today's policies are outdated

Today’s students are vastly different from those of decades ago, but colleges are still structured as if 18- to 21-year-old, full-time students are in the majority. Some colleges and universities have improved to meet the needs of today’s students by offering convenient class times, transferring course credits, and making it easier to register for courses. But big gaps persist in many areas, including housing and child care.