Policy Brief on a Federal or State Issue in Postsecondary Education

Policy Brief on a Federal or State Issue in

Postsecondary Education

(20 points)

Corresponds to Course Student Learning Outcome #1, #2, #3, #4, #7



For this assignment, you will be asked to select a current higher education issue that is the source of debate in the federal- or state policy-making arena and prepare a policy brief. Through research and analysis, you will have an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the regulations, rules, mandates, requirements or guidelines that exert control or influence over the area of postsecondary education you have identified. Thus, for the purpose of this exercise, you will have an an opportunity to review the background, context and importance of the policy/issue problem; identify and review alternative perspectives and possible course(s) of action; assess and evaluate the strengths and shortcomings of the current policy/legislation; and offer a set of recommendations and proposals for modifying the current policy and/or introducing new legislation.


What is a Policy Brief?

A policy brief “is a document which outlines the rationale for choosing a particular policy alternative or course of action in a current policy debate” (Young & Quinn, n.d.).  In essence, it identifies and summarizes a particular issue, provides a critique of current policy, offers alternative policy options, and concludes with a set of recommendations (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2011; Young & Quinn, n.d.).  A good policy brief is also focused, professional, evidence-based, problem-specific and succinct, and provides the reader with an informed analysis sufficient enough to generate new dialog and effective decision making on the issue (Young & Quinn).  For a more detailed review of the elements and components of a policy brief, please refer to Appendix A.


Also, for good examples of actual policy briefs, please refer to the following:


Federal Higher Education Policy and the Profitable Nonprofits (Fried, 2011)   http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/PA678.pdf


Policy Brief: Strategies for Improving Higher Education (Moore, C. 2011):


(Note: This brief is descriptive and does not offer recommendations.)


State Policies Regarding Undocumented College Students (Russell, A, 2011): http://www.aascu.org/uploadedFiles/AASCU/Content/Root/PolicyAndAdvocacy/PolicyPublications/PM_UndocumentedStudents-March2011.pdf

(Note: This brief is descriptive and does not offer recommendations.)


Center for Education Policy Analysis-Stanford University


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