The Yes We Must Coalition strives to increase degree attainment of low-income students by promoting the work of small, independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities committed to this purpose.

Need for the Yes We Must Coalition

During the past 3 years, a national spotlight has been focused on higher education for very good reasons. We can no longer claim the best educated population in the world. We are investing far fewer public resources in higher education now than we did in the past and college tuitions are increasing at a rate that is out of reach for most Americans. While it is statistically true that having a college education leads to numerous positive life outcomes, including increased earnings, better health and more satisfaction with life, questions are being raised about the actual learning that results from the 4 to 6 years it takes to obtain the credential. Moreover, as income inequality among Americans has widened dramatically in the past 30 years, the correlation between the income level of one’s birth family and educational level achieved flies in the face of the American dream and the American need for a more open system of attainment. It is time for colleges and their faculties and administrations to look beyond their individual campuses and act boldly to clarify these questions and create new measurements, practices, systems and structures that can better serve the needs of our country and our global community. It is a time for new thinking about taken-for-granted- assumptions about the academy. It is time for new voices to be heard.


  • Contribute to the attainment of the 2020 national goal to increase the number of students achieving college degrees.

  • Be a national voice to advocate for low-income students and the role of institutions and  organizations that effectively serve them.

  • Work to improve graduation rates for low-income students.

  • Develop valid measurements for demonstrating the college success of low-income students.

  • Disseminate information, data, and models of success for low-income students.

  • Leverage resources to increase degree attainment of low-income students.

  • Secure funding to support the mission and goals of the Yes We Must Coalition.