Today more than ever, higher education is profoundly important to the prosperity of U.S. society. It is increasingly required for jobs; produces higher earnings, which spurs economic growth; and encourages civic engagement, which strengthens the foundation of democracy. Although the benefits are clear, educational attainment in the United States has stalled. The United States trails its peers substantially, limiting its international competitiveness, and educational disparity exists across socioeconomic groups within the United States, furthering inequality of many kinds. The key to reversing this trend lies in policy innovations within higher education.
This volume of The ANNALS offers theoretically grounded empirical analysis of the impact of public policy on higher education. The collection of articles examines the effects of state policy on student readiness for, participation in, and completion of college, in addition to college affordability. The authors also identify theoretical and methodological approaches for future research to help improve policies and higher education attainment in the states.