Skip to main content



Founded in the mid 1980s, the Institute for Research on Higher Education (IRHE) pursues action-oriented research to promote success in education and training beyond high school. IRHE’s research highlights urgent public policy issues facing states, the nation, and other countries. 

Located at the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Professor Joni E. Finney, IRHE’s focus is to:

  • Rethink public higher education finance and governance policy frameworks with the aim of improving the productivity of higher education and the quality of learning for students
  • Highlight state and federal education policies that enable economic mobility for far more Americans
  • Explore policies that hold promise for improving higher education performance: better academic preparation, greater participation in higher education, and increased certificate and degree completion
  • Engage in selected international policy reviews to encourage the free exchange of policy ideas and solutions

IRHE’s audience includes policy, business, and educational leaders interested in developing the educational capital of the nation.  IRHE works directly with state policy leaders and collaborates with nationally recognized policy organizations and individuals to complete its work.