President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ victory signals a crucial moment for enhanced access to higher education that could, given their commitment to “Doubling the Pell Grant,” promote a success model as well. One of the points to be emphasized is that the goal of college access has force and plausibility as an aim of social policy only insofar as colleges and universities function as effective means for delivering what they promise to deliver. And, while education has a number of legitimate goals, among the most central are promoting cognitive and socio-emotional development, allowing students to attain general knowledge and skills, and helping students become desirable from the perspective of employers. For the latter, they must graduate. What follows from these considerations, then, is that whatever form access strategies assume, college campuses need to adopt corresponding strategies that meet the needs of the students they choose to enroll.
December 15, 2020