Commentary and analysis on today’s most pressing concerns and innovative practices in higher education policy and research. Staffed by ACE’s Center for Policy Research & Strategy and Government Relations, along with guest posts from ACE members and other scholars working in the field to define and assess the critical challenges facing colleges and universities. Together, these posts provide college leaders and public policymakers with the latest on issues such as access, financial aid, data, Congress and the administration, re-imagining diversity and equity on campus, and public higher education finance.

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Supporting First-Generation and Low-Income Students at the University of Florida

First launched in 2006, the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program supports nearly 1,250 undergraduates annually and will soon surpass the 2,000 alumni milestone. For the first-generation and low-income students in the program, early estimates indicate that they are 44 percent more likely to graduate in four years and 47 percent more likely to complete in six years compared to their peers.

ISU President Steven Leath: Prioritize Agricultural Research

By 2050, the world population is projected to increase by roughly one third, creating one of the greatest conundrums in history: How to produce as much food in the next 35 years as we have produced in the previous several thousand. Iowa State President Steven Leath writes about his institution’s role in addressing this challenge, and the need to make agricultural research a national priority.

FAFSA Simplification: Harder Than It Seems

Making it easy for students and families to apply for federal student aid is a little like the Holy Grail—universally sought for its extraordinary value, but never found. And the search likely will intensify as Congress works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, writes Terry Hartle. At issue is the FAFSA, the form that students and families must fill out to get federal student aid.

Fighting Food Insecurity on Campus

College and university administrators and leaders around the country increasingly are realizing that undergraduate students are among the millions of Americans who experience food insecurity, or a lack of resources to obtain nutritional food. Chris Nellum looks at what we can do about the problem, which has grown significantly in the years since the Great Recession.

Mapping New Pathways for Native Youth

While 208,838 American Indian and Alaska Native students were enrolled in college in 2012—a 17 percent increase from 2004—46 percent are first-generation and low-income, a population that often struggles with college completion. As the White House gears up for the first Tribal Youth Gathering, Christine Nelson looks at efforts to expand higher education opportunities for these students.

Will Performance-Based Funding Further Disadvantage Disadvantaged Students?

Performance-based funding (PBF) is becoming increasingly popular as an accountability tool to reward higher education institutions for specific student outcomes. Despite its popularity, however, a substantial body of empirical evidence shows PBF can have troubling and unintended impacts. With this in mind, Lyle McKinney and Linda Serra Hagedorn look at the Texas Student Success Points Model.

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