By Terri Taylor

iStock / D.M. Baker

Federal emergency dollars for colleges and universities provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity — not only to respond to the pandemic, but to reimagine how institutions support current and prospective students. This is especially true for those who know that college can be helpful but aren’t sure how to fit it into their complex lives.

Even as businesses and schools reopen and vaccinations and travel pick up, we must remember that for many Americans the end of the pandemic may mean even more stress and disruption.

Federal, state, and local eviction bans, debt collection pauses, and bans on shutting…

iStock / SDI Productions

By Terri Taylor

Anyone who pays attention to higher education policy should know by now the outsized debt burdens shouldered by Black, Hispanic or Latino, and Native American students. And yet we haven’t yet moved from admiring the problem to implementing solutions, in part because the space has been dominated by white policy experts (who are, frankly, like me).

A good example of this happened two years ago, when four U.S. senators sent a letter to nearly 100 stakeholders asking for ideas to improve federal policies for student borrowers of color and to make access to higher education more equitable…

iStock/ Chainarong Prasertthai

By Elizabeth Garlow and Terri Taylor

This summer marks the third anniversary of year-round Pell grants, where students can receive extra Pell funding to enroll in summer classes and complete their programs faster. Summer Pell is a critical resource, but it doesn’t begin to solve all of the affordability issues facing today’s students, including federal aid restrictions for many student populations, the pressure of costs beyond tuition (such as child care), and lack of financing options for quality workforce training programs.

These challenges help explain why so many students struggle to afford higher education, even when enrolled in a relatively…

iStock / wutwhanfoto

By Terri Taylor

We celebrate the idea that earning a bachelor’s degree results in an average of $1 million in additional lifetime income. But future earnings don’t mean much when you’re a student struggling to make rent, pay for tuition, and cover all your other expenses.

Finances are even more complicated for adults thinking about going back to earn a credential. “Adult students often think about the costs of going back to college in terms of past, present, and future,” Karen Goos, assistant vice provost for enrollment management at the University of Central Missouri, explained recently. For instance:

· Adults…

A guest post from Alyse Gray Parker

If we want to help more people earn college degrees, we’d better start by making the costs of college clear for all students trying to reach that goal.

Lumina Foundation, where I worked this summer as an intern, wants 60 percent of Americans to have postsecondary credentials by 2025. This is an ambitious goal — but right now, we’re only at 46 percent.

Why? For many students, college just isn’t affordable. And, as I found out during my work at Lumina, it’s even hard for students to know exactly how much it’s going…

By Terri Taylor

Lumina Foundation is launching a new effort to elevate student voices in federal policy conversations about education beyond high school by partnering with organizations with strong national networks of students. This post features two of these partners — Leadership for a Diverse America (LEDA) and Young Invincibles — and explores how the stories of two students that they serve illustrate broader policy questions for our leaders to address.

LEDA helps outstanding public high school students from low-income backgrounds get access to and succeed in top universities and colleges by developing their leadership potential.

With Lumina’s support, LEDA’s…

Terri Taylor

Strategy Director for Innovation and Discovery at Lumina Foundation

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