Reliable and Affordable Pathways to College and Meaningful Careers

A college degree remains the strongest stepping stone to self-sufficiency for most students, especially those from low-income families, but it cannot and should not be the only option. We are working to provide reliable and affordable postsecondary pathways for all students.

The number of jobs in the United States requiring some postsecondary education or training has increased dramatically in recent years. Yet college completion rates remain low, especially among students of color and those from low-income families. Moreover, Americans are increasingly burdened with debt from student loans. The current system is often incoherent and irrelevant: Many courses and majors are not aligned to employment opportunities in high-growth, in-demand fields; it can be difficult to transfer credits from one institution to another; and expensive technical programs dole out certificates and credentials that are not even recognized or valued by employers.

Success after high school can vary widely and is defined largely by the indicia of the American Dream: upward economic mobility, self improvement, civic engagement, and a family-sustaining wage. That’s why we issued a new Blueprint for Postsecondary Success. It calls for federal and state requirements to track postsecondary outcomes for individual schools, school districts, colleges, and universities; improved college ranking systems; career and technical education tied to high-growth, in-demand fields; and a sustained focus on degree completion and the successful transition to meaningful work.

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Our Blueprint for Postsecondary Success outlines steps to give every child a path to thrive in life after high school.