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New Higher Education Policy Group Forms

March 15, 2017

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

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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