Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

December 11, 2019

Postsecondary Success Notes | Possible does not mean inevitable


Can you believe 2019 is coming to an end? For me, 2019 was a year that demonstrated progress toward more equitable opportunity in higher ed.

We launched the Postsecondary Value Commission in May. Across the country, students and families are asking “What is college worth?” and this commission will offer recommendations on how to define value and what students and communities should expect from their investments in postsecondary education. I’m looking forward to their findings next year.

We saw progress in the continuing movement to redesign developmental education. Through the work of partners such as Strong Start to Finish, 250 colleges and universities that enroll nearly 4 million students are changing their developmental courses and programs in ways that promote more equitable student success. And this includes some of the largest public systems in the nation.

We also saw progress in how the National Student Clearinghouse is responding to institutions’ requests to collect and analyze data as they pursue transformation. Just two years ago, the Postsecondary Data Partnership was only an idea. Today, it includes more than 150 colleges and a number of major national organizations – and the numbers continue to grow.

And finally, we saw progress in efforts to promote and support institutional transformation. At the beginning of this year, we issued a request for proposals for Intermediaries for Scale and more than 200 organizations from across the country responded. This signaled interest in real and lasting change, even as institutional leaders wrestle with the big questions of transformation and how to ensure postsecondary education is a driver of equitable value. We will introduce the 12 intermediaries, who collectively serve nearly three-quarters of the nation’s public two- and four-year institutions, in January.

There’s still a lot to be done to eliminate race and income as predictors of student success. Here’s to another year of getting closer!

Patrick Methvin