We joined forces with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore ‘The New Majority’ of college students in the US. ‘Many students attend school while working part- or even full-time. Some are raising children while in school. And, in many cases, they’re financially independent. There’s no one-size-fits-all path to (or through) college – and we need to plan our education policies accordingly.’


More on ‘The New Majority’ from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

Today, we as a nation are facing the reality that for many, that bridge has become too narrow and too hard to navigate, with a toll that is too high. Rising costs and debt, stubbornly high dropout rates, and persistent attainment gaps threaten higher education’s ability to meet societal and workforce needs. Recent estimates show that the nation will need 11 million more workers with some form of high-quality post-high school education by 2025 than our system is currently on course to produce. (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, analysis prepared for the foundation, 2014.)

Just as importantly, those workers will be largely drawn from the new majority of students—low-income and first-generation students, students of color, and working adults—who have historically faced the highest hurdles getting to and through college. Advancing equity in educational opportunity is both an economic necessity and a moral imperative.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success strategy is built on the belief that significant, sustained, and student-centered change is required for higher education to live up to its potential as an engine of economic development and social mobility. The strategy is dedicated to building human capital by closing attainment gaps, focusing on three levers for bringing about that change:

> Innovative solutions such as digital learning, technology-enabled advising, and streamlined academic pathways that help students navigate some of the most common barriers to achieving a credential today.

> Robust networks that support widespread implementation and integration of these solutions—providing implementation support, examples of leading practice, resource sharing, and guidance and leadership on advocacy. Experience shows that real change affecting student outcomes depends on a combination of innovative approaches; there are no “silver bullets.”

> Powerful incentives that move campuses and systems to adopt and integrate solutions for student success and/or remove barriers to those efforts. These include the use of data to highlight success gaps and measure the effectiveness of solutions, as well as financing mechanisms such as outcome-based funding and financial aid for students. They also include policy advocacy at the federal and state levels. (Focus states for the Postsecondary Success strategy include: California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.)

Full white paper HERE