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.


37% of college students are 25 or older, and 46% are first-generation college goers.


A majority of college students work – many full-time – while supporting themselves through school.


Homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty affect college students.


Economic background dramatically affects success in school and work, especially when race is factored in.


Most bachelor’s degree holders leave college with loan debt.

The good news: Policy can change the equation

Updating federal policy could help address factors at the root of challenges faced by today’s students – such as finances, hours worked and family – and help boost all students’ success. Needed changes include:

  • Improving data collection,
  • Rethinking financial aid, and
  • Creating flexibility in federal policy so colleges and universities can innovate to meet today’s students’ needs.

Today's policies and practices are outdated for today's students' needs

Today’s students look different than decades ago, but college is still structured as if 18- to 21-year-old, full-time students are the majority. Some colleges and universities have improved to meet today’s students’ needs by offering convenient class times, accepting transfer credits and easing course registration. But there’s still a big gap in areas such as housing and childcare.

Posted Feb 12, 2019