On December 4, 2014, representatives from the Yes We Must Coalition joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with other college presidents and higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.
It’s no coincidence that college graduation rates are highest for the most selective schools. The Department of Education metric considers only first-time, full time, fall-starting college-goers who complete in six years or less. The Department of Ed.’s official graduation rate for these students is 59 percent; for students at schools with open admissions, it’s only 33 percent.
A growing number of college students complete their degrees, but are not counted in a school’s graduation rate because they are part-time, or transfer students, or they take longer than six years to finish.
Listen to the podcast with guest Vinton Thompson, President of Metropolitan College of New York, who says that the graduation rate is a poor metric that will do more harm than good if it doesn’t change.
The Yes We Must Coalition is grateful to Lumina Foundation for a grant of $200,000, in their words, "to support the growth and programming of a new higher education leadership community." The funding is being used over the 18-month period ending April 2016 to add two part-time positions (Program Manager and Operations Manager) to the Coalition, support more time for the Coalition’s president, and support planning for a members-only Working Institute to be held in November 2015.
As predictable as students returning to their college classrooms every fall is the attack on the value of a college education — in particular a liberal arts education — in print.
What makes the latest round of punches surprising is the person throwing them. It’s hard to believe that one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy and a graduate of Dartmouth, Oxford, and Yale would pen a piece titled “College is a Ludicrous Waste of Money.”
September 16, 2014
Success on Campus: Presidents’ Perspectives
At this session of the NCAN National Conference, the presidents of three YWM member institutions and the president of the Coalition discussed how they meet the needs of low-income, 1st generation students and how their college success strategies have been developed and play a major role in the outcomes of their students. Each panelist discussed their institution and population served as well as some of the programs and policies they have developed to increase the success of low-income students. Together, they introduced the audience to the Yes We Must Coalition sector of schools and the work these schools are doing to increase degree completion.
Presenters: Gloria Nemerowicz, President, Yes We Must; John Bassett, President, Heritage College; Bassem Deeb, President, Keuka College; Jennifer Braaten, President, Ferrum College
September 12, 2014
The Yes We Must Coalition is a 501(c)3 comprised of 36 independent, non profit colleges and universities across the country where the undergraduate enrollment is 50% or more Pell-eligible. We enroll more than 53,000 students. We organized in 2011 to collaborate with one another, be a voice for our students and to establish an identity for this important sector of higher ed.
September 2014, American RadioWorks
American Radioworks takes on the issue of the colleges addressing our new student majority. Proud to have member Heritage University featured.
Click the link to hear the complete documenary show: The New Face of College
By Mara Dolan, Host, WCAP-Am Radio
September 10, 2014
Click on the link to hear the full interview: President Nemerowicz interview
Dear Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:
Congratulations on your MVP award at the NBA Celebrity All-Star game: 20 points, 8 boards, 3 assists and a steal—you really filled up that stat sheet. Even the NBA guys were amazed at your ability to play at such a high level—still. Those hours on the White House court are paying off!
Like you, I spent some time playing overseas after college and have long been a consumer of basketball box scores—they tell you so much about a game. I especially like the fact that the typical box score counts assists, rebounds and steals—not just points. I have spent many hours happily devouring box scores, mostly in an effort to defend my favorite players (who were rarely the top scorers).
This blog, while inspired by Paul Tough’s recent article in the New York Times, is really in response to the growing chorus of people lamenting over so-called “undermatching” in higher education. Undermatching is the latest higher education cause du jour. It is based upon the idea that high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds are being ill-served by matriculating at less prestigious colleges and universities and therefore, should scale up and attend more celebrated ones.
By Gloria Nemerowicz, The EvoLLLution
May 22, 2014
The following interview is with Gloria Nemerowicz, president and founder of the Yes We Must Coalition, a group focused on increasing degree attainment among low-income students by promoting the work of small, not-for-profit colleges and universities. Nemerowicz recently spoke about the importance of involving small colleges in defining the metrics upon which the proposed federal ranking system would be based. In this interview, she expands on those ideas, discusses the value of outcomes-based funding and warns against adopting a system that would disincentivize working with non-traditional students.
1. What are the most significant concerns you have about the proposed federal college ratings system?
It’s still a mystery what the instrument is actually going to look like. Most significantly, everyone is worried about the harm such metrics might have if it’s not well done, especially the chilling effect it could have both on colleges and universities and on students. For colleges and universities, if there’s a way of serving fewer low-income, first generation, communities of color and generally what are called “non-traditional students” … to chill admitting folks who have some significant needs in terms of their learning, that would be unfortunate.
By Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education
April 25, 2014
All of the skepticism over President Obama’s proposed college-ratings plan has made the administration more determined than ever to move ahead with it, and to get it right, a senior policy adviser told representatives of small, private colleges gathered here on Thursday.
"We’re really fired up about this proposal and excited to be able to release it in the near future," Mary Wall, a senior policy adviser for higher education at the U.S. Department of Education, told leaders of the 36 colleges that make up the Yes We Must Coalition.
By Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education
April 24, 2014
For one student, the difference was a financial-aid officer who took the time to draw him out about personal problems that were derailing his studies. For another, it was a cohort of classmates who urged him on when work, college, and family pressures collided.
The strategies that their small, private colleges took to help those low-income students succeed took center stage here on Wednesday at a three-day conference highlighting a group that isn’t used to being in the spotlight.
By American RadioWorks @AmRadioWorks
A new majority of students going to college are low-income, Hispanic or African-American, and from the southern or western United States. They are also older than so-called traditional students. The recently-formed Yes We Must Coalition aims to shine a light on colleges that have been serving this new majority for a long time.
By Michael J. Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College
February 18, 2014, MSI Unplugged
As the president of a Minority Serving Institution (“MSI”), I spend a lot of time trapped in conversations of the “America no longer needs your kind of colleges” nature. Additionally, it seems as if every article I read is inundating me with research findings that purport to confirm the inferiority of MSIs or studies that lament the damaging impact of gifted students attending our schools (code name: “under-matching”). At a time when higher education is searching for more ways to educate minority and under-resourced students, MSIs find themselves in the ironic position of being attacked while the methods they have successfully used to nurture and educate students for over 100 years are being copied by majority-run institutions.
By Katherine Mangan
January 17, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Education
As guests of the White House on Thursday basked in the good will of promises to open doors and guide students to graduation, many educators who have dedicated their careers to helping low-income students succeed in college watched from the sidelines.
Most were excited that the issues they'd long grappled with were taking center stage. But some couldn't help pointing out that many ideas emerging from the White House summit—targeted scholarships, better test preparation, summer enrichment programs, fast-tracked remedial education—were old news on their campuses, which nonetheless continue to see low completion rates.
Critics contended that the meeting's guest list, which included more than 100 colleges as well as 40 nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other groups, was dominated by elite institutions.