Commentary and analysis on today’s most pressing concerns and innovative practices in higher education policy and research. Staffed by ACE’s Center for Policy Research & Strategy and Government Relations, along with guest posts from ACE members and other scholars working in the field to define and assess the critical challenges facing colleges and universities. Together, these posts provide college leaders and public policymakers with the latest on issues such as access, financial aid, data, Congress and the administration, re-imagining diversity and equity on campus, and public higher education finance.

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A College Unbound

In 2015, Robert L. Carothers joined the board of College Unbound after stepping down from serving as the president at the University of Rhode Island for 18 years. Most of the students came thinking of themselves as having failed, he writes, but College Unbound “taught them to reframe failure and to see that their lives had been about learning, even if they could not see it.”

A Unique Experiment in Serving the Educationally Underserved

David A. Bergeron, senior fellow for postsecondary education policy at the Center for American Progress and formerly of the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, considers how College Unbound works to reconcile the goal of greater access for older adults with the lack of meaningful outcomes.

A College Unbound: Cohorts, Educational Trauma, and Micromodels as Catalysts for Innovation

The highly nontraditional model of College Unbound—a unique institution designed for low-income adults who have started college but not finished—presented regional accreditors with a challenge. Louis Soares and Ursula Gross look at the tensions between innovation and accreditation that such institutions present—and how they can be overcome.

Involuntary Withdrawal Policies: No Room for Mental Health Stereotypes in a Fair Process

Recent developments on campus have highlighted the importance of comprehensive, transparent involuntary withdrawal policies for students who pose a risk of self-harm. Attorney Amy C. Foerster discusses what higher education institutions should consider and how to incorporate principles established by the  Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

It Begins with Difficult Conversations: How Community College Leaders Can Support Faculty-led Student Success Efforts

If community colleges want to make a difference in student persistence and attainment—and to make the improvement sustainable over time—these efforts must be led by those on campus who have the most frequent contact with students: the faculty. Carrie B. Kisker, a director of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, looks at where to begin.

The 5 Percent: Action Steps for Institutions Investing in Women of Color

The face of the college presidency has changed in recent years, moving slowly away from the monolithic profile of the past (White men over the age of 60) to something more representative of the face of colleges and universities themselves.