Postsecondary Success Notes | September 2023

Celebrating Postsecondary Transformation
Students sitting at computers in classroom


It’s college rankings season, and I know I’m not the first to tell you many of these lists are problematic due to their historic preference of selectivity over social mobility. While I’m heartened to see a few media publications revamping their methodology, where an institution appears on a list should not determine its prestige, how well they serve their students should. Postsecondary education is key to economic empowerment and social mobility, and historically students of color, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds have missed out on this critical opportunity, largely because institutions (in both Higher Education and K-12) have not adapted to serve them. Luckily, for the students of today and tomorrow, there are many institutions of higher education committed to the success of their students – we should celebrate them and learn from them. And that’s just what the foundation did with the launch of the Frontier Set in 2015. The Frontier Set was composed of a diverse group of 29 high-performing, high-potential colleges, and universities, 2 state systems, and supporting organizations that had a track record of making strides in improving student outcomes and working collaboratively with other institutions. We wanted to understand how these institutions were transforming to improve the student experience and share those learnings to help advance the field. The Frontier Set was charged with piloting new, holistic strategies designed to achieve equitable outcomes, while sharing insights, information, and tactics as part of their transformation journey. Through this cohort, we learned that institutions transform by integrating evidence-based practices that create inclusive and coherent learning environments and leveraging a student-centered mission, catalytic leadership, strategic data use, and strategic finance in a robust continuous improvement process. Postsecondary transformation requires reevaluating existing systems and structures that no longer serve students. The work isn’t easy, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible, and more importantly, it’s imperative for delivering equitable student success. To learn more about the Frontier Set, what we’ve learned from our partners, and what’s next for postsecondary transformation, I invite you to explore our refreshed and newly relaunched website. Regards,

Patrick Methvin

Patrick Methvin

Director, Postsecondary Success


The Guide for Postsecondary Changemakers

In this institutional transformation framework, students are at the center, with a core focus and commitment by institutions to equitable student success.

View The Guide for Postsecondary Changemakers

Quick Takes

Equitable Outcomes for Latino Students

National Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) week was observed September 11th – 17th, kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month. There are 570+ HSIs across the country and they serve more than two-thirds of Latino students enrolled in postsecondary education. By designation, they prioritize the creation of a diverse and inclusive campus community, and because many HSIs take a student-centric approach, they have a performance history of delivering strong economic and social mobility for their students.


Championing Equitable Postsecondary Value for all Students

Postsecondary value is about a better living and a better life. When provided with equitable access and support to complete quality, affordable credentials, students are empowered to contribute to their communities and society, delivering both economic and non-economic returns. Dig through this editorial booklet from our partners at Inside Higher Ed to see the latest public perceptions around postsecondary value and how institutions are increasing the value proposition for their students.