As states look for approaches to increase postsecondary education attainment rates and meet changing workforce demands, the interaction and connectivity of state- and federal-level policies plays a critical role in helping states meet their individual goals and support student success. Policymakers are often challenged with marrying federal and state higher education policies to develop a comprehensive policy playbook that supports students and moves the nation toward meeting aggressive, yet necessary, attainment goals.

To support policymaking efforts, Education Commission of the States coordinated the creation of 10 policy briefs focused on the interaction between state- and federal-level policies pertaining to higher education. The briefs are composed by a diverse collection of education policy thought leaders representing state and federal perspectives from both a public and private viewpoint.

“As both state governments and the federal government share responsibility for constructing and implementing postsecondary education policies that support students and provide opportunities for a high-quality education, it is imperative that these policies be cohesive and streamlined,” said Brian Sponsler, vice president of policy and director of the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute at Education Commission of the States. “This series of briefs explores policy nuances across key postsecondary issue areas and serves as a roadmap for policy action.”

(Click the image below to access the complete series of State-Federal Partnerships in Postsecondary Education policy briefs.)

Education Commission of the States would like to thank the two core funders for this initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation, for their support of this report series and their ongoing work with federal and state higher education policies. Education Commission of the States would also like to thank the authors and partner organizations for their hard work and dedication to this important topic.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at or (303) 299.3609.


Tweet this ECS report!

Overall Series:

  • 10 policy briefs on the interaction between state- & federal-level #highered policies available now: @edcommission
  • New briefs explore state-federal partnerships in #highered to help states meet their goals: @edcommission #edpolicy

Individual Briefs:

  • From @IBHETweets @edcommission: Wiping the Slate Clean: A new federalism for the 21st century student
  • From @CCTrustees: Leveraging Community Colleges in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act #highered
  • From @OregonHECC @Portland_State: Rethinking the Federal-State Partnership for Free Community College
  • From @HCMStrat: Rowing Together: Aligning state and federal investments in talent to common outcomes #highered
  • From @IHEPTweets: Fixing Affordability: An approach for advancing federalism in the modern era #highered
  • From @VanderbiltU @edcommission: Better Together? State and Federal Funding for Student Financial Aid #highered
  • Enhancing State Authorization The need for action by states as stewards of #highered performance @AASCU @EdCounselDC
  • From @FLCollegeSystem: Role Clarity: The interplay of entities funding higher education #highered
  • From @EdReformNowUSA: Fast Track to College Success #highered
  • From NCHEMS @wicheEDU Creating an Ideal State-Federal Data Partnership to Improve College Affordability Policymaking 

 PUBLISHED: December 15, 2016

 AUTHOR(S): Unspecified



 STATE(S): Unspecified

More on this issue