The era when a high school diploma was enough to
climb the ladder into America’s middle class is long gone. In today’s global economy, a college degree or market-ready credential
has become the minimum requirement to access our nation’s social and
economic opportunity ladders. Access to higher education, therefore,
cannot remain a privilege afforded to a few when it has become a
prerequisite to achieving greater success for all.
For generations, the nation has focused on and celebrated,
the increasing number of students who make it to our nation’s first
class colleges and universities, whether they offer 2-year or 4-year
degrees, or a market-ready credential. Unfortunately, for too many
students, their ultimate goal of graduation has eluded them. The nation
must redouble its efforts to ensure that the goal in higher education is
not only increased enrollment, but increased graduation, attainment
and completion as well.
We believe that public-private nonprofit
partnerships, effective advocacy and meaningful engagement
can drive reform and innovation, spur completion and attainment rates,
and foster economic stability and growth in historically underserved
In order to increase the number of students who persist to graduation
and attain degrees and credentials, we need a clear-cut local, state and
national focus that:
Supports a range of higher education institutions, including HBCUs,
Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Community Colleges and those
that offer market-ready credentials.
Establishes “early-warning” indicators.
Explores the potential of innovations such as individualized instruction,
virtual learning, flipped classrooms, stacked and latticed credentials,
modern apprenticeships and co-ops, competency-based education,
and accelerated degree options.