Postsecondary Success Notes | Big challenges, big opportunities, big commitments

students sitting in classroom

Colleagues, I hope that you were able to enjoy some summer rest. While I didn’t quite make it through my summer reading list, the time in nature with my family more than made up for it. 😊 Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a higher education summit hosted by Secretary Cardona and the U.S. Department of Education, which was the energizer I needed heading into a new academic year. There was a palpable sense of urgency among attendees about the need for transforming colleges and universities to be more student-centered and equity-focused, as well as a renewed determination to redefine prestige and excellence in higher education. As many of you probably read, the secretary pulled no punches in calling out college rankings that focus on the wrong things, and we are proud to partner with Washington Monthly, whose rankings focus on the right things, like opportunity for students from low-income backgrounds. But the biggest takeaway was the shared desire among participants for immediate and concrete action. As a foundation, we have been working on—and learning about—institutional transformation for more than a decade. The time has come to take all of that work and learning and put it into action at hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. Keep reading for more about major investments we are making to support fundamental change in academic and operating models at institutions committed to better serving today’s and tomorrow’s students. I believe that we are truly on the edge of an evolutionary moment in higher education. The demand for change is clearly there and our collective knowledge about the “what, why, and how” of change is rapidly growing. The essential element now is the will to change, and I urge all of us to think about how we can be part of the change that needs to happen to make opportunity real for more of today’s students. Regards,

Patrick Methvin
Director of Postsecondary Success in the United States Program

Foundation Expands Institutional Transformation Efforts


For more than a decade, the foundation has been investing in institutional transformation—what it means, why it needs to happen, how it happens, and what is needed to make it happen. Through initiatives such as Completion by Design, the Frontier Set, and Intermediaries for Scale, we and our partners have learned a lot about how colleges and universities can make fundamental changes in their academic and operating models to dramatically improve student success and eliminate disparities in student outcomes. Building on that learning, the foundation is pleased to announce a significant expansion of its Intermediaries for Scale portfolio—$100 million over the next five years. The intermediaries—six national and regional organizations committed to equitable student success—will work intensively with 250 colleges and universities to redesign structures, business models, and culture to dramatically improve student outcomes and educational value.

Quick Take


New Research Explores Higher Ed’s Enrollment Decline

Amid continuing reports of declining enrollment at the nation’s colleges and universities, HCM Strategists and EDGE Research teamed up to explore attitudes of prospective and former college students about pursuing education after high school. They found significant questions among students about the value of getting more education, with nearly half (45%) believing that getting a college education is not worth the investment because of concerns about debt and job prospects. At the same time, a similar proportion (46%) indicated that they definitely plan to pursue or continue education after high school, compared with just 13% who say they will definitely not pursue more education.