Access to Education

Pursuing a higher education is a financial challenge for many, especially with rising costs and education budget cuts.  While the purpose and value of a higher education is much greater than workforce development, that alone is enough to prove the ROI.  There will be 55 million job openings in the economy through 2020, 24 million openings from newly created jobs and 31 million openings due to baby boom retirements.  By educational attainment, 35 percent of the job openings will require at least a bachelor's degree, 30 percent of the job openings will require some college or an associate's degree.  Our communities and our future depend on access to a quality education.  A number of programs have been proposed and put into place to help make that a reality.

Community College to Full-Time Graduate:  Northwestern is one of three new schools to sign on to the Chicago Star Partnership, a City Colleges initiative to help students obtain a bachelor's degree after graduation. Under the program, 15 Illinois public and private universities have agreed to provide scholarships to students who graduate from Chicago Public Schools, get their associate degree from one of the city's community colleges, and then get admitted to a bachelor's degree program.

Free Community College:  The Tennessee Promise was instituted in February 2014, making the state the first in the nation to provide free community college. In January of 2015 the Obama Administration proposed a plan where students who attend community college at least half-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA would be able to have their tuition eliminated.  The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill (86-11) last week that would allow students to attend community college for free.  Other states are following suit.

LAUSD: In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed that Los Angeles commit to a goal of giving every hardworking graduate of the Los Angeles Unified School District one free year of community college.  A spokesperson for the mayor said the deal is not done yet, but when finalized it would start in 2017. Funding would come from the community college district, the city and a private philanthropist.  If the plan comes to fruition, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the nation to participate in a free community college program.

Move On When Ready: Move On When Ready is based on more than 20 years of research on the education systems of countries that consistently outperform the United States in student achievement.  This approach moves away from "one-size-fits-all" and towards a more personalized model of education.  High school students who move through more quickly can leverage many choices such as advanced courses that can earn college credit, to graduating early.

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