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Making College Work Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students

Thursday, November 30, 2017,

  • Location: Mayborn Building • 130 Magnolia Cir • Nashville, TN 37212
  • Room: 204

Presented by Harry J. Holzer

John LaFarge Jr. SJ Professor of Public Policy

McCourt School of Public Policy

Georgetown University

  These circumstances stem both from problems on the individual side, such as weak academic preparation and financial pressures, and from institutional failures. Low-income students disproportionately attend schools that are underfunded and have weak performance incentives, contributing to unsatisfactory outcomes for many students.

Some solutions, including better financial aid or academic supports, target individual students. Other solutions, such as stronger linkages between coursework and the labor market and more structured paths through the curriculum, aim at institutional reforms. All students, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, also need better and varied pathways both to college and directly to the job market, beginning in high school. We can improve college outcomes, but must also acknowledge that we must make hard choices and face difficult tradeoffs in the process.

While no single policy is guaranteed to greatly improve college and career outcomes, implementing a number of evidence-based policies and programs together has the potential to improve these outcomes substantially.