Policy Priorities

  • Reform America’s Dysfunctional Higher Education Accreditation System
  • Rethink Public Financing of Postsecondary Study to Encourage Competition and Accountability
  • Open New Pathways to Family-Sustaining Careers
  • Combat the Politicization of Higher Education and Encourage Viewpoint Diversity on U.S. Campuses
  • Protect Students’ and Professors’ First Amendment Rights

Universities are among the most important institutions in American society—responsible for advancing science, fostering economic growth, transmitting a cultural inheritance to the next generation, and preparing young people for citizenship and family-sustaining careers. Unfortunately, although U.S. universities are lavishly funded by state and federal taxpayers, many of them are failing to live up to their important public responsibilities.

The America First Policy Institute’s Higher Education Reform Initiative works to develop and advance policy reforms at the state and national levels. We envision a competitive higher education marketplace that does a better job of graduating students with in-demand skills and credentials at a reasonable cost to families and taxpayers. Universities should also prepare graduates for citizenship and lifelong learning through rigorous academic programs delivered in an environment that fosters free inquiry and a wide range of viewpoints.



Fact Sheet | November 14, 2023

Dismantling Campus DEI in Arkansas

How lawmakers can end divisive, race-essentializing programs and protect students’ First Amendment rights.

Op-Ed | November 13, 2023

Grotesque Campus Antisemitism is Fueled by Woke Takeover of Higher Education

“There are moments in this life… when… pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world.” That is how President Biden first described Hamas’s gruesome premeditated attack on Israeli civilians.

Statement | November 8, 2023

STATEMENT: AFPI Commends Representative Steel’s DETERRENT Act

Policy | November 2, 2023

30 State Higher Education Policy Priorities of the America First Agenda

The America First Policy Institute’s Higher Education Reform Initiative works to develop and advance policy reforms that invigorate a competitive higher education marketplace, strengthen protections for free expression on campus, improve viewpoint diversity in the academy, and build civic literacy. As a starting point, the Initiative has identified 30 state policy priorities and provided examples of promising legislative initiatives that have recently been passed into law, introduced as bills, or developed as model legislation. Falling into nine broad categories, these priorities are designed to (1) combat divisive and ideological campus DEI initiatives, (2) protect students’ expressive rights, (3) protect students’ religious liberties, (4) enrich the marketplace of ideas by encouraging viewpoint diversity, (5) guarantee minimum due process rights in sexual misconduct investigations, (6) incentivize innovation, efficiency, and delivery of programs that prepare students to enter the workforce with employable skills that are responsive to private sector needs (7) improve governance accountability, (8) improve civics literacy, and (9) combat foreign influence on American campuses. This is an evolving resource intended to inform and educate policymakers. All feedback is welcome.

Op-Ed | November 1, 2023

Ditching Degrees: Walmart’s New Hiring Strategy is a Boon for Workers

In September, Walmart made a historic announcement: it will rewrite job descriptions for corporate roles to focus on skills, not college degrees. This shift acknowledges that too many American workers with the knowhow and experience to advance professionally face a completely artificial barrier to family-sustaining employment: they lack a piece of paper issued by an expensive college or university.

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