Giving Compass' Take:

• Luis Cruz argues that high quality data could help the U.S. have more equitable higher education policies to prepare students for the changing workforce, which will highly prioritize credentials.

How can philanthropists and tech experts work in tandem to provide data network solutions that can help inform policy? Can we utilize data to inform other policies outside of higher education?

Read about how the city of Baltimore utilized data to figure out that there was an unequal distribution of resources to school districts.

Federal lawmakers are debating the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act against the backdrop of sobering forecasts about the nation’s future workforce demands. Labor economists project that by 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require a college degree or credential.

To prepare the workforce of tomorrow, lawmakers must ensure that all students can access and succeed in higher education. To do that, they must advance the use of high-quality data to develop equity-driven policy solutions.

Today, low-income students still attend college at lower rates than high-income students did 40 years ago.

Thousands would be lifted out of poverty. With a college degree in hand, they could profoundly shift the fortunes of their families and communities for generations to come.

Our current federal data infrastructure is duplicative and inefficient. It excludes outcomes for many of today’s students — those enrolling part-time or transferring from one institution to another — and it fails to present many measures of success by race or socioeconomic status.

In turn, lawmakers lack comprehensive information about which institutions are serving students of color and low-income students well — and which ones are not. Similarly, information on workforce outcomes excludes students who don’t receive federal aid — a full 30 percent of all students — which creates gaping holes in earnings data.

Research from the Institute for Higher Education Policy demonstrates just how college leaders around the country can use data to help more students succeed.

Read the full article about equity-driven higher education policy by Luis Cruz at The Hechinger Report