Founded in 1968, the Institute of Higher Education (IHE) at the University of Florida has a long history of conducting cutting-edge research and offering data-driven recommendations for higher education administrators and policymakers seeking to address important postsecondary issues. Led by Justin Ortagus, associate professor of higher education administration and policy, the institute and its researchers have earned more than $1.5 million in new grants over the past several months.

Recent grants awarded to IHE include collaborators from Penn State University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Methodist University, Howard University, Georgia State University, Houston Community College, and West Virginia University. Newly awarded IHE projects receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, and Arnold Ventures, focusing on local funding sources for community colleges, online student success, the impact of course sequencing at community colleges, and more.

“The work we’re doing at IHE is critically important for practitioners and policymakers seeking to better understand how to improve the opportunities and outcomes for traditionally underserved college students. Whether the focus is online education, community colleges, or funding allocations, IHE is committed to using rigorous research to examine the equity and effectiveness of higher education programs and policies.”

Ortagus serves as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for all IHE projects. Frank Fernandez and Benjamin Skinner, both of whom are assistant professors of higher education administration and policy, also serve in leadership roles on key IHE projects.

The building momentum of IHE mirrors the tremendous growth of research at UF, having just surpassed $1 billion in research spending in 2022. As IHE personnel continue to provide impactful research to improve postsecondary student access and success, the long-lasting positive effects of the institute’s research-practice partnerships will be felt for years to come.

“Under the leadership of Justin Ortagus, IHE is playing a key role in examining issues confronting students, faculty and other stakeholders in post-secondary institutions,” said Thomasenia Adams, associate dean for research and faculty development. “Dr. Ortagus leads with a vision for expanding and strengthening the impact of center as evidenced by his continued efforts to secure funding for the center, engage colleagues within and outside of the center, disseminate research, and represent IHE in national and international venues.”

Justin Ortagus