Author(s): American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Published: Nov. 30, 2017
“Our nation’s effort over two centuries to provide education to everyone who lives and works within the United States is an expression of a core belief, one that has survived a long history of challenges: that all people, through learning, can achieve higher goals for themselves and for society as a whole. Progress toward universal education has expanded most recently to colleges and universities. Today, almost 90 percent of high school graduates can expect to enroll in an undergraduate institution at some point during young adulthood and they are joined by millions of adults seeking to improve their lives. What was once a challenge of quantity in American undergraduate education, of enrolling as many students as possible, is now a challenge of quality—of making sure that all students receive the rigorous education they need to succeed, that they are able to complete the studies they begin, and that they can do this affordably, without mortgaging the very future they seek to improve.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences formed the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education to develop a national strategy to help students and their families, colleges and universities, government policy-makers, and business leaders and philanthropists reach this next level. The future success of our democracy, our economy, and our nation will depend on our commitment to an inclusive ideal of an educated society.”