With major strides in access to postsecondary education for all students in recent decades, it is tempting to assume that such progress has erased disparities in college enrollment and completion in the United States. Yet despite having one of the highest college participation rates in the world, large gaps persist in terms of access to and success in higher education in this country, particularly for low-income, minority, and first-generation students.
Given the pressure to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy, it is in our shared national interest to act now to increase the number of students who not only enter college, but more importantly earn their degrees, particularly bachelor’s
degrees. Due to the changing demographics of the United States, we must focus our efforts on improving postsecondary access and success among those populations who have previously been underrepresented in higher education, namely low-income and minority students, many of whom will be the first in their families to go to college.