Gates Report Stresses Importance of Flexibility, Personalization, and Affordability Through Policy Change

A recent report published by the Gates Foundation talks about the need for higher education to become more flexible, more personalized, and more affordable, giving students an effective and efficient path to degree completion and career preparedness.

If you haven’t had a chance to read “Postsecondary Success Advocacy Policies” yet, I encourage you to do so. While reading through it, you may notice a lot of the content aligns with what we at Helix Education believe in and take into account as we pursue both research and solution/technology development.

Flexibility—allowing students to complete schooling in a way that fits their time frame and lifestyle; personalization—defined as the use of learning models that address individual student needs; and affordability—providing options and aid that don’t drown students in debt, are not new concepts.

In fact, we talk a lot at Helix Education about the importance of delivering student-centric, meaningful learning experiences and optimizing the cost of graduation.

The report brings about a call to action to change and evolve policy so that higher education can truly embrace student-centered business and education models. Among the priorities that the Gates Foundation says will help move the industry to where it needs to be are four priorities:

  1. Data and Information
  2. Finance and Financial Aid
  3. College Readiness
  4. Innovation and Scale

As an aggregator of data across the student life cycle, we understand first-hand both the importance of data, and also the ethical and secure application of it. It’s not enough to just collect information. Rather, it needs to be actionable to help shape institutional processes and outreach while also respecting the privacy of the learner. As the report points out, “many postsecondary systems have a plethora of data about inputs but significantly less information about outcomes.” Making this data actionable is key.

Policy adoption is never an easy thing, but we are grateful to see the strides being made in higher education to embrace more flexible, personalized, and affordable learning experiences. We believe that applying data analytics across the student life cycle goes a long way in delivering a learning experience that embodies these key factors.

Roland Schwarm

As the Principal Data Scientist , Roland brings more than 15 years of experience in data science to Helix Education. During his time in EdTech, Roland has worked closely with colleges and universities to create institutional and enterprise learning data strategies that can help improve programs and outcomes. Roland earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and his Masters in Econometrics from Colorado State University.