"This was one of the best conferences I ever attended (strength of purpose & commitment of participants, great focus, good opportunities for cooperation and collaboration). My team came back highly energized!" (president)

"This institute was an excellent opportunity to meet and interact with others from similar institutions. As a faculty member, I not only had the chance to hear from other faculty and get some great ideas (and possible collaborations), but I also had the chance to learn more about the administrative side of higher education. I was very energized by this institute and felt the ideas for initiatives were promising,…" (faculty)

"It was great to meet with and discuss common concerns with members of institutions with similar challenges. I would like to see students and student develop leaders at the next meeting." (faculty)

The projects we came up with together inspire hope for the future as we navigate through our institutional challenges. The more opportunities we have to gather together to share on the progress being made will help enable our reach for the goals before us. (VPAA)

First day’s morning speakers were very informative. Will be looking forward to seeing their presentation slides to mull over the information in greater detail and compare our institutional data to those same measures. (CFO)


2015 YWMC Institute for Members
On November 11-13, 2015, the Yes We Must Coalition sponsored its first Institute for Members

Collaborating to Fulfill Our Responsibility to the New Student Majority

Welcome Remarks from Yes We Must Coalition President Gloria Nemerowicz

Who would have believed that when 11 maverick presidents met for a Yes We Must Summit in 2010 we would be here today, 5 years later, organized as a sector of higher education, uniquely positioned to contribute to reversing the inequality and inequity that have grown deeper and more pervasive in the past 40 years. 

Are the 11 presidents who were in the room 5 years ago and said “Let’s move from Summit to Coalition” with us today? Please stand so we can thank you. And thanks too to the Yes We Must Coalition Directors who, in addition to guiding their own institutions through organizational highs and lows, give their time and talents to help guide Yes We Must: Jorge Diaz-Herrera from Keuka College, our Treasurer; Kathleen Ross from Heritage University, our Secretary; Vinton Thompson from Metropolitan College of New York; and Michael Sorrell from Paul Quinn College. 

Today we are 39 members strong, located in 22 states. All our member institutions are nonprofit and independent, and all have a mission to deliberately intervene in the destructive outcomes of poverty by providing higher education to those grossly under represented and under educated. 

Yes We Must Coalition members enroll over 75,000 undergraduates:

  • more than half of whom are African-American and/or Latino,
  • one third of whom are over the age of 24,
  • two thirds of whom qualify for Pell grant support, and
  • most of whom work, many full-time. 

The portrait of our students is the portrait of America’s New Student Majority.  We can no longer call them minority or non-traditional. They are our students. They are our future.

Read complete welcome remarks


What We Know

A presentation of the various aspects of what we know about low-income students in higher education.

Robert Kelchen, Research Consultant to Washington Monthly
Download PowerPoint presentation: Yes We Must Presentation

Tom Mortenson, Senior Scholar, The Pell Institute
Download PowerPoint presentation: Financial Barriers to Opportunity for Higher Education

Jamey Rorison, Senior Research Rnalyst, Institute for Higher Education Policy
Download PowerPoint presentation: What We Know, and Don’t Know, about College Completion for Low-Income Students

Click here for audio recording

Word from Our Sponsor - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A presentation from the Foundation about their priorities and about their investment in our efforts.

Scott Dalessandro, Associate Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Download PowerPoint presentation: BMGF PS Strategy Overview

Click here for audio recording

The Context of Poverty for Creating Models to Streamline Pathways to Completion

An insight into the context of poverty for the education of our students.

Jennifer Silva, Assistant Professor, Bucknell University; Author of Coming Up Short: Working Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty and researcher with Robert Putnam for Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Download PowerPoint presentation: The Context of Poverty for Pathways to College

Click here for audio recording

Financing Our Students and Our Institutions

John Dysart, Enrollment Management Consultant, President, The Dysart Group
Download PowerPoint presentation: Financial Model Collaboartion Opportunities

Jamey Rorison, Senior Research Analyst, Institute for Higher Education Policy
Download PowerPoint presentation: Understanding How Low-Income Students Use Financial Aid

Click here for audio recording

Transforming the College-to-Career Experience

A model for transforming the college-to-career experience for our students and to kick off our exploration of integrating professional preparation into the whole undergraduate experience.

Andy Chan, Vice President for Personal and Career Development, Wake Forest University,
** This speaker could not attend; however, please view this Andy Chan's Ted Talk directly from YouTube.