Cultural & Linguistic Competence - IHE

cultural linguistic
Higher Education

Institutions of higher education (IHEs) can honor college students’ identities, communicate in ways that make sense to them, and support and promote equitable policies and practices.

Acknowledging and respecting cultural, linguistic, and community identities of students and their families can help optimize educational experiences and attainment for students of all backgrounds. IHEs can bring awareness of diverse cultural identities and an understanding about differences among students to create culturally responsive learning environments. Institutional policies can explicitly build in supports and practices that seek to eliminate disparities and barriers that students may face related to their cultural identities.

Featured Resources

Public Policy Institute of California

Addresses the need for courses that allow students to take college classes and earn college credit.

2023 Higher Education Trends Report

Presents an outline of trends and opportunities that face the higher education sector today, regardless of geography, institutional type (research, teaching, public, private), or brand.

Community College Research Center

Presents findings from a study on the scale of adoption of guided pathways practices across community and technical colleges in three states where there are state-level efforts to support adoption among colleges system-wide.

Title page with the words: Modernizing Postsecondary Policy to Better Support Adult Learners

Identifies policy barriers hindering adult learners and suggest ways for policymakers to create accessible, affordable pathways in postsecondary education.

A title page with the words: Military and Veteran Support: Programs to Help Servicemembers and New Veterans Transition to Civilian Life Could Be Enhanced

Describes resources to help servicemembers and new veterans transition to civilian life.

A mother holding her young son.

Describes how two single mothers navigate higher education, their career aspirations, and taking care of their families.

A shadow sketch of two people's heads with the title of the product.

Discusses how to foster student belonging in higher education.

Strengthening California's Transfer Pathway

Discusses California's aims to create a larger and more diverse pool of college-educated workers.

Woman and man cutting metal poles.

Addresses the structural inequalities with higher education and the workforce that delay and block opportunities to reach economic security, and provides recommendations on how to address these inequalities.

A woman with curly hair holding books.

Provides research, tools, and resources to help college design and implement equity-centered approaches in all aspects of the college system.

community college

Examines student outcomes through the fall 2022 term, shedding light on both the immense progress made and necessary areas of future reform.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Created to keep both financial aid community and prison education program administrators updated on tools, training, and news related to the implementation of financial aid in carceral settings.

Generation Hope

Introduces FamilyU as a comprehensive, customized, evidence-based, two-year capacity-building experience designed to build and refine institutional competencies to improve student-parent success.

Image of the first page of the report.

Presents information on a cohort of colleges that sought to redesign the college student experience using four practice areas: (1) mapping pathways to students' end goals, (2) helping students choose and enter a program, (3) keeping students on a path, and (4) ensuring that students are learning.


College students studying and walking on campus.

Presents information on economic and non-economic outcomes for U.S. adults across different educational attainment levels.

Title page with text that says Disengaged Learners & Return Paths to Higher Education

Presents data on reasons for disengaging with institutions, interest in pursuing degree completion programs, and important factors in selecting degree completion programs.

Woman hugging two children.

Describes efforts at Monroe Community College to enhance support for single mothers and reduce graduation challenges.

"Dear Colleague" Letter on Shared Ancestry

Reminds colleges, universities, and schools that receive federal financial assistance of their legal responsibility under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations (Title VI) to provide all students a school environment free from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.


Evaluates the first evidence-based LGBTQ+-centered sex education program. The IN·clued program consists of two workshops: one for clinical staff and one for LGBTQ+ youth that covers topics such as safer sex for LGBTQ+ youth, how to access and navigate sexual health services, and how to advocate for yourself with a provider. 

Homepage of the Our Nation's English Learners resource

Presents an interactive website that provides a State by State chart of the most common non-English languages spoken by English Learners (ELs), highlighting the more than 400 different languages spoken across the country; a district level map that shows current EL populations; as well as changes in the EL populations over time, and graphics highlighting how likely ELs are to attend schools and districts with high concentrations of other ELs.

Related Resources


American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

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