KnowledgeWorks Releases Policy Recommendations for the Future of Higher Education

Recommendations call for policymakers to consider greater alignment with the K-12 system

Topics: Education Policy, Higher Education

KnowledgeWorks recommendations for reauthorizing the federal Higher Education Act call on Congress to break down traditional barriers so all learners can access personalized pathways to a postsecondary degree.Policymakers have a unique opportunity to transform higher education through modernization of the federal Higher Education Act (HEA), according to the policy recommendations released today by KnowledgeWorks. After many years advancing K-12 policy, this is the first set of postsecondary policy recommendations released by the organization.

“To create a truly personalized and competency-based education system in the United States we need to modernize the Higher Education Act,” said Matt Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “These recommendations will help align the nation’s federal higher education policies with the growing shift to personalized learning at the K-12 level so learners have the flexibility and support to access personalized pathways across the education continuum.”

To help federal policymakers consider ways to modernize the HEA, KnowledgeWorks released Advancing Personalized Learning through the Higher Education Act, a series of policy recommendations that support the innovative strategies that schools, states, and postsecondary institutions are implementing in their local communities.

The policy recommendations include three goals that aim to support personalized pathways to a postsecondary degree:

  1. Increase college enrollment and persistence by incentivizing effective transitions between K-12 and higher education. Investing in programs that increase college readiness and persistence including, early college high schools, dual enrollment programs, and competency-based pathways.
  2. Support personalized learning pathways toward a postsecondary credential by making the federal financial aid system more flexible. Exploring opportunities to modernize Title IV eligibility for competency-based postsecondary programs and ensure high school students can access Pell grants for completion of college coursework.
  3. Prepare K-12 educator candidates to take on new teaching roles in personalized learning environments. Ensuring that educators are prepared to support students’ development of the skills and competencies needed for success in postsecondary and the workforce.

“Instead of focusing on the system first, reauthorization conversations must start with the learner so policymakers can design a framework that is responsive to the needs of an increasingly diverse and non-traditional postsecondary population,” said Lillian Pace, vice president of policy and advocacy. “A modernized HEA can help address the needs of many unique learners across the country.”

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers all students to take ownership of their success.

With more than 50 professionals working in 11 states, KnowledgeWorks is uniquely positioned to transform cradle to career education because we’re the only organization that simultaneously engages in strategic forecasting, governmental advocacy and working directly with schools. Throughout our 20-year history, we’ve been passionate about collaborating to create a system-wide approach that grows and sustains student-centered practices – all to equip learners for career and life success.

Through customized professional development, in-depth research such as forecasts on the future of learning and federal education policy guidance and state-level ESSA implementation support, KnowledgeWorks has created opportunities for more than 135,000 students in 20 states through competency-based learning and early