Policy and Advocacy

Last revised March 2018 | Valid through 2020

Drawing from our experience as policy lead for multiple nationally recognized community college completion initiatives over the past decade, JFF has developed a suite of policy and advocacy services to help Student Success Centers and their partners at state systems, associations, and institutions to influence education and public policy decisions affecting community colleges, their students, and vitality of communities and regional labor markets.

The policy and advocacy services will help Centers collaborate with their partners to advance policies that catalyze systems change, build capacity and make progress toward scaling guided pathways, and accelerate the achievement and career advancement of community college students, especially those who are from low-income backgrounds who have been underserved. Building on the practitioner-informed state policy framework of the Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success (the Trust), JFF will help Centers and their partners create the conditions, incentives, and structures needed to foster clear pathways and to ensure financial stability of students to achieve their education and career goals. The menu of services emphasizes issues related to metrics, money, and systems integration, three key policy areas specified in the Trust’s policy framework.    

Key to Levels of Service

Level 1: Online Tools and Resources

such as research publications, policy briefs, recorded webinars, and virtual tools and templates

Level 2: Training, Convening, and Peer Learning

such as Network-wide workshops and webinars, group consultation with national providers, and leadership development opportunities

Level 3: Customized Services

such as state-specific coaching and consultation, institutes, and trainings customized for Centers based on readiness and need for deeper, individualized support


All Student Success Centers and their partners have access to a variety of resources and tools to guide their thinking and engagement in policy discussions, including:

  • State Policy Framework and Position Papers (Launch: January–July 2018) Through its engagement with the Trust, JFF is producing a State Policy Framework and a series of position papers to provide Student Success Centers and their partners with thought leadership on state and federal policies that will most help community colleges improve student success and scale guided pathways.
  • Annual Progress Report on State Policy Change (Launch: October 2018) JFF will publish a report each fall that highlights policy change across each Network state. Intended to facilitate cross-state learning, the report will track state policy adoption in areas aligned with the priorities of the Trust, the Network, and JFF.
  • College Policy and Practice Inventory (Launch: First tool related to financial aid - May 2018) JFF is developing a suite of tools as a resource to Centers to guide colleges through a systematic review of institutional policies, practices, and business processes. The tools will help colleges determine the degree to which existing policies and practices support or impede student success and the implementation of guided pathways. Facilitation of the tools will provide a structure and process for institutions to plan for appropriate changes.
  • Advocacy Toolkit (Launch: TBD) JFF will develop and curate tools, templates, and exemplar artifacts to help guide Student Success Centers and their partners in mapping policy influencers, allies, and assets in their states and to develop or refine advocacy strategies to influence policy decisions.


In collaboration with their partners, all Centers have opportunities to engage in policy convenings and trainings to 1) facilitate peer exchange and strategic consultation on the policy implications to their pathways work, 2) to keep abreast of major federal and state policy developments, and 3) to provide their perspectives to policy makers and influencers.

  • Semi-Annual Network Convenings (ongoing) At our Summer and Winter Meetings, JFF will continue to organize sessions on key federal, state, and institutional policy issues and provide dedicated time for state teams to consider policy implications for their work and to deliberate on strategies and solutions.
  • Policy Affinity Groups (ongoing) JFF will provide opportunities for Student Success Centers and their partners to engage more deeply with policy influencers around specific issues in order to inform Center work and policy decisions. JFF will organize convenings and will host Centers and partners at other national meetings of import and will facilitate ongoing discussions and actions across states. Membership in the Policy Leadership Trust is an example of one engagement strategy.


Some Student Success Center states will receive in-state support and service by JFF and national providers customized to their specific needs. Based on need and opportunity, this may include:

  • Consultation on state policy agenda setting and advocacy strategy
  • Policy research and analysis
  • Assessment of state policy conditions and climate for change
  • Neutral, third-party convening of key stakeholders
  • Case-making for policy change, including testimony at policy hearings and meetings
  • Facilitation of College Policy and Practice Inventory tools