Forum On Broadening Access to College

Other External Scholars:
Derek Douglas, Center for American Progress
Project Date:
Nov 2006
Award Amount:
$35,000
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

The United States once led industrialized nations in having the highest percentage of college graduates in its population, but now has sunk to twelfth place. Low-income Americans face particularly daunting obstacles to college access; many are unprepared academically and those who are prepared must contend with steep tuition increases and the prospect of heavy student debt loads. This past Fall, Derek Douglas of the Center for American Progress (CAP) led an academic forum to develop policies to improve access to higher education. The participants examined the role that education has historically served in U.S. society, estimated the projected public returns from an expanded investment in higher education, and discussed how universal higher education ought to rank as a national priority compared with other issues such as universal health care and preschool. Attendees also discussed the nuts and bolts of enacting universal higher education: how access could be guaranteed and who should pay for the system. Participants will collaborate on a CAP publication based on these discussions (to be released in Spring 2007) and titled “A Twenty-First Century Strategy for Higher Education.”

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