The 10 Percent Solution

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In his remarkable book, Jude the Obscure, novelist Thomas Hardy paints a painful picture of Jude, a young man in late 19th century England who tries to break class barriers by entering Christminister College.

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In 21st century America, we have a related problem. Young people of modest means feel excluded from higher education, especially elite colleges and universities. While 8 million find their way to community colleges, there is often no clear and compelling path to a baccalaureate degree. Moreover while some senior institutions actively recruit community college students, many exclude them. And those that do accept community college transfers usually provide little support, academically and financially.

I therefore offer the following proposal and challenge to all bachelor degree granting institutions: open your doors to recruit and accept community college transfers in the number of 10 percent of your junior class. By doing so, approximately 200,000 community college students will be admitted to four-year colleges and institutions, bolstering the number of bachelor degree graduates in our country.

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