Lumina Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Boost Degree Attainment

Lumina Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Boost Degree Attainment

The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has issued a new strategic plan that outlines what it will do over the next four years to help ensure that 60 percent of Americans hold high-quality degrees, certificates, or other credentials by 2025.

The foundation's Strategic Plan 2013-2016 (executive summary, 3 pages, PDF) comprises two strategic imperatives: mobilizing employers, policy makers, institutions, state and metro leaders, and others to reach the 60 percent education attainment goal, also known as Goal 2025; and designing and building a twenty-first-century higher education system. Under the first imperative, the foundation's specific strategies include building a Goal 2025 social movement through the creation of a call to action, partnerships, and the development of a common language and plan of action; working to more closely align postsecondary education with workforce and civic needs; urging the adoption of data- and evidence-based policies, partnerships, and practices to close attainment gaps for underserved students; encouraging states to adopt formal goals and implementation plans focused on addressing attainment gaps; and developing a federal policy agenda.

To help design a twenty-first-century higher education system, the foundation plans to create new models of student financial support and work to align federal, state, and institutional policies and programs; advocate for higher education business and finance models supported by public finance and regulatory policies that create incentives for, and remove barriers to, innovation; and push for new systems of quality credentials and credits defined by learning and competencies, clear and transparent pathways to students, high-quality learning, and alignment with workforce needs and trends.

The foundation also announced the appointment of two new senior staff members who will play integral roles in executing the plan — Julie Peller as strategy director for federal policy and Zakiya Smith as strategy director for student financial support.

"The national demand for talent to power our economy and support our democracy is growing rapidly," said Lumina Foundation president Jamie P. Merisotis. "The vast majority of that talent can only be attained in high-quality postsecondary education learning environments and will come overwhelmingly from low-income first-generation adults and students of color. Lumina Foundation will work over the next four years to help develop the talent necessary to spur economic growth, support lasting prosperity, and improve the quality of life for all Americans."