Priorities Report: State Governors and Legislators


State Governors and Legislators

Priority Actions for College Student Success

Elected officials will decide which actions to prioritize in their states. Combining the power of affordability, success coaching and workforce preparation can lead to widespread change.


Make postsecondary education affordable for low- and middle-income families

Lower the college cost burden for low- and middle-income students and families.

Provide state aid to cover the gap between the Pell award and the cost of public tuition and fees.  

Allocate state aid for part-time students and for summer semester courses. 

Review state policy to allow additional funding or  incentives to universities that cover more unmet need for low-income students.  

Incentivize colleges to use more open educational resources or low-cost texts.

Encourage federal officials to improve Pell Grants to better support the lowest-income students by:  

  • Developing a formula to better meet the needs of students with the greatest need  
  • Increasing awards to cover a larger portion of the cost of attendance  
  • Increasing the yearly maximum Pell Grant award on an annual basis to an amount that will cover at least 50% of the cost of an average four-year public education — and thus fully cover the costs of a two-year public education.
  • Providing federal aid for part-time low-income students  

Encourage federal officials to simplify the FAFSA process for families by to  the federal tax filing process. 

Focus on ways to help students complete their degree or credential of value at a faster rate.

Adjust financial aid formulas to incentivize completing a degree faster, or give incentive funding to colleges that help students complete faster.  


Workforce Preparedness
Help all graduates secure a well-paying job

Increase the focus within postsecondary education on current and future workforce needs

Examine funding formulas to identify changes that would encourage institutions to focus on aligning academic programs to meet industry and employer needs so their students are better prepared with the skills to enter the workforce.   

Improve data governance and use of education and workforce data

Require state coordinating or governing boards to provide campuses and policy leaders with a consistent source of data, analysis and data translation, including:   

  • a clear list of high-demand fields in the nation and the state   
  • state-level labor market supply and demand data   

Encourage state coordinating or governing boards to provide increased guidance and capacity for universities to collect regional and local workforce supply and demand data.   

Require state coordinating or governing boards to publicly share information about the types of programs, certificates and degrees available across all colleges in the state, in order to help reduce under- and oversaturation in certain disciplines or industries.   


Student Success Coaching
Help all students navigate, persist and graduate

Centralize student success services with a concierge office staffed with trained success coaches

Provide colleges and universities incentive funding to develop centralized student success concierge offices.  

Develop state education policy that codifies the provision of student success coaching, including academic, social-emotional, basic transition support and mentoring services.