Historic Alliance to Increase College Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth

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Historic Alliance to Increase College Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth

A group of national education reform leaders, joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and National Economics Advisor Gene Sperling, announced last month the launch of the new Pathways to College Network, a historic alliance of major private and corporate foundations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and the U.S. Department of Education. With funding commitments from its own executive committee expected to total nearly $2 million over the first three years, Pathways participants will engage in an unprecedented effort to improve preparation for -- and access to -- higher education for under-represented students from low-income families.

"This is an extraordinary coalition," explains Riley. "These are the people who run the schools, lead the colleges, make the entrance exams and who give children an extra boost into college. They are agreeing, jointly, to use conclusive research to evaluate what they are doing and to improve and coordinate their efforts."

According to the U.S. Department of Education:

- Only 47 percent of low-income high school graduates immediately enroll in college or trade school, compared to 82 percent of high-income students.

- Only 18 percent of African Americans and 19 percent of Hispanic high school graduates earn a bachelor's degree by their late twenties, compared to 35 percent of Whites. …