State Policy Road Map for a Smarter Postsecondary System


JFF has developed a road map for crafting bold, innovative postsecondary policies that enable community colleges to play a key role in developing a strong workforce and ensuring economic opportunity for all.

The future of work and learning not only exists in systems but within communities made up of individuals existing in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Our nation must take proactive measures to grow the talent within these communities so that the people of this country always hold valuable skills and credentials. We believe that this can be a reality through the public higher education system. To guide states, JFF designed an evidence-based, postsecondary policy agenda and report, analyzing the extent to which recommended policies have taken hold in a representative sample of 15 states.

Our recommendations are framed in three strategies:

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Focus on the talent development needs of regional and state economies.

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Create efficient pathways to postsecondary credentials.

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Help all students fulfill their potential.

Policy Agenda

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We created a comprehensive reforms agenda framed around three strategies for making postsecondary education work for students and the economy. Our goal is to guide policymakers in setting the right policy conditions to help states build a postsecondary trained workforce for a rapidly changing economy.

Policy Report

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Through extensive field research, we analyzed the postsecondary policies of states within our network. Our report showcases how much progress states have made in adopting recommended policies and identifies areas where there is room for improvement.


JFF invites state policymakers, business leaders, postsecondary practitioners, and a wide variety of partners to use these resources when assessing their own states’ policy conditions and in developing policy solutions to effect change. Based on JFF’s decades of experience collaborating with education leaders at the forefront of the college completion movement, we know there are no simple answers or one-size-fits-all approaches to making change through state policy. Please consider calling on us to advise and support your work ahead.

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