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Higher Learning Advocates, a bipartisan policy-focused organization, announced its formation today. The nonprofit group, which is based in Washington, said its focus will be on advocating for federal policies that are "equitable, outcomes-based and focused on educational quality" to increase postsecondary attainment.

The Lumina Foundation has contributed start-up funding for the group, which will do policy research as well as advocacy and communications.

“Higher Learning Advocates is filling an important and unaddressed gap in the policy landscape,” said Julie Peller, the group's executive director. “Our focus is solely on reforming our nation’s federal policies to improve outcomes for today’s learners. We are bipartisan, strategically minded and are eager to roll our sleeves up and tackle these important and timely issues.”

The group's attempt to reach both sides of the aisle in Washington is reflected in its initial governing board (listed below), which includes some big names in higher education.

  • Margaret Spellings, president, University of North Carolina System, and former education secretary in the George W. Bush administration
  • George Miller, senior education adviser, Cengage, and Democratic former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • John Engler, retired president, the Business Roundtable, and Republican former governor of Michigan
  • Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College and Maricopa Corporate College
  • Dewayne Matthews, fellow, Lumina Foundation
  • Kim Hunter Reed, executive director, Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Teresa Lubbers, commissioner, Indiana Commission for Higher Education