Jesse O’Connell

Jesse O’Connell is the strategy director for federal policy at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Based in the Washington, D.C. office, O'Connell leads the development and advancement of the foundation’s federal policy priorities, with the objectives of increasing the share of adults nationally with college degrees, certificates, or other credentials of value.

More about Jesse
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The University of the Republic?

Jesse O'Connell  | 
It is too soon to draw full and conclusive lessons from the 2020 election, but two things are beyond dispute: Joe Biden has been elected the next President of the United States, and America remains deeply polarized.
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States have to step up to help colleges face the coming budget storm

Scott Jenkins, Jesse O'Connell  | 
American higher education is in the eye of a hurricane. When the pandemic hit last spring, campuses were buffeted by the frantic transition to remote instruction, lost revenue, and emergency spending on health and safety measures. The country made it through the tough early months with unprecedented
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How to Build a Post-Pandemic America

Jamie Merisotis, Jesse O'Connell  | 
The Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency created in 1935 to address the nation’s then-worst economic catastrophe, is getting a fresh look as we think about how to help millions of Americans left jobless in the pandemic. There’s a good reason for why. During its eight-year tenure
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Distance education matters more than ever: Let’s be sure we focus on the learning

Jesse O'Connell  | 
Like most crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a whipsaw effect. On one hand, it’s wildly disruptive and distracting, reordering our routines and upending every aspect of normal life. But sudden upheaval also brings the opportunity to challenge long-held assumptions about the status quo. It reset
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When it comes to higher ed, there’s no debate about what today’s students need

Jamie Merisotis, Jesse O'Connell  | 
Think of a presidential primary campaign like a boisterous family discussion around the holiday dinner table. Everyone has his or her own ideas, many disagree, and the arguments are loud, lively, and passionate.
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College accreditation rule leaves work yet to do

Jesse O'Connell  | 
The federal government’s long-awaited final new regulations for accrediting postsecondary institutions are out—and the results are mixed. We see some encouraging steps forward, but also some troubling oversights. In short, there is still plenty of work to do.
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When discussing student loan forgiveness, start with racial justice

Jesse O'Connell  | 
Pay attention to electoral politics long enough and you’re sure to hear the pundit’s admonition that a successful candidate campaigns in poetry and governs in prose.
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This spring, put students first

Jesse O'Connell  | 
Federal policy must first look beyond efforts that merely increase college enrollment. We must do that — but while also increasing student success and never compromising on quality.
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The lie at the heart of the college admissions scandal

Jesse O'Connell  | 
By now you, along with the rest of America, have heard about the college admissions scandal setting higher education ablaze. Federal authorities charged dozens of people this week with participating in a scam to sell admissions slots at some of the country’s most selective universities. The brazen
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Prison education: Making the most of a second chance

Haley Glover, Jesse O'Connell, Wayne Taliaferro  | 
Since 1994, when the Violent Crimes Act banned incarcerated people from receiving federal financial aid, millions of Americans have cycled through prisons, only a fraction able to obtain high-quality higher education.
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The case for college data transparency

Jesse O'Connell  | 
If you were making one of the most important and expensive decisions of your life, how much of the necessary information would you want to have? About 100 percent? 75 percent? Would you settle for 50 percent?
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Out of the Amazon jobs race, cities talk education, talent

Dakota Pawlicki, Jesse O'Connell  | 
We’ve all been on a bad blind date. Your aunt swore that you had something in common, but you show up holding your dog-eared copy of “The Hobbit” and she’s toting Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” You just know you’re in for two hours of awkward pauses and forced small talk.
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Don’t forget Damaris

Jesse O'Connell  | 
Nearly two years ago we told you about Damaris Ortiz, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to California in her teens. Now pursuing a bachelor’s degree, her path remains difficult. She and many students like her have oblig
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Amazon should look to Talent Hubs for HQ2

Dakota Pawlicki, Jesse O'Connell  | 
Speculating which city is most likely to land this prize has become a popular parlor game in many media outlets.