Policy Solutions to Advance College Access and Success for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, testified today at a U.S. House of Representatives' Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training hearing to discuss postsecondary education policies that improve access and completion for low-income and first-generation students.

Dr. Cooper testified to the important role minority-serving institutions (MSIs) play in educating these students and provided recommendations about postsecondary data, financial aid, and early outreach programs to improve postsecondary education access and degree completion among first-generation students.

Some of Dr. Cooper's recommendations include:

  • Collecting more useful and useable data to inform college choice and policymaking
  • Increasing the investment in the Pell Grant and simplifying the financial aid process
  • Strengthening federal support for TRIO and GEAR UP
  • Setting high expectations for MSIs and supporting those that serve their students well

The hearing came as the Committee on Education and the Workforce works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

"The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act provides an opportunity to reassess college access and completion policies with an eye toward addressing the needs and challenges of today's students," Dr. Cooper said. "By crafting federal policy that promotes students' success, we can ensure that more students have a chance to receive a quality education that not only transforms their lives, but also strengthens the fabric of society."

Read more of Dr. Cooper's testimony here.