A high school education is not enough in today’s global economy—this much we know. By the end of this decade, more than 60 percent of all jobs will require some kind of education beyond high school.
The problem is that today’s college system is not setting students up to succeed. Nontraditional is the new traditional at America’s community colleges—most students work while attending classes, have dependents of their own, enroll in college part time, and are financially independent. 60 percent of college students are not college ready, testing into remedial level courses, delaying their ability to enter a program of study and complete a degree or credential. Only about half of all Americans earn some form of degree after high school. That figure drops to 25 percent for low-income students. Also keep in mind:
- Overall education attainment is projected to decrease for the first time in US history
- Billions of federal and state dollars are spent on activity that never leads to a credential
- Even worse, millions of students are trying, but experiencing significant failures that put their futures and the future of our country at risk
Millions of young adults have the ability and desire to go to college, but not the money, time, or support they need to get there or get to the finish line. What we want is for most students who enter a community college to complete a degree or credential. In order to achieve that goal we focus on reducing the necessity for remedial courses and helping students complete their program of study faster.
In order to succeed, we need to ensure the solutions that work can be scaled up to help all students. What does that look like on the ground? Scale doesn’t just happen. We need the right set of tools and the right environment and recognize the important role for technology, data, and policy in our scaling strategy.
But we also know that we can’t get there alone. We believe that by working boldly with our grantees and partners, we can dramatically improve postsecondary success in America and help ensure a more equitable and successful future for all young people. Simply put, for millions of students, a postsecondary degree or certificate is their best ticket out of poverty and into the middle class. As Melinda French Gates has said, “education is a pathway to possibility”.
Take a minute to watch the video above and share it with your networks. I think it does a great job of showing what’s at stake for our education system, our students, and our country.
Join the conversation on Twitter at #StudentSuccess as the Gates Foundation and our partners convene to discuss how we can accelerate momentum to help put more students on the pathway to success.