The Equitable Outcomes Imperative

Strategies for Advancing Racial Equity in Postsecondary Attainment

This summer, as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on public health and the economy, the United States experienced a nationwide reckoning for racial justice. At a time when postsecondary training and credentials can be a lifeline for those who have been most negatively impacted, we have a unique opportunity to put advancing racial equity at the core of our economic recovery efforts. Perhaps more than ever before, there is a committed audience for rethinking existing policies and practices that result in inequities in postsecondary attainment. In order to make America as good as its promise, equity must be the center of educational opportunity and success.

The Equitable Outcomes Imperative: Strategies for Advancing Racial Equity in Postsecondary Attainment lays out key strategies for states and communities to put racial equity at the forefront of their postsecondary education efforts. While more than 40 states have taken the crucial step of setting a statewide attainment goal, there is an opportunity for more of them to make explicit and deliberate efforts to advance racial equity through their postsecondary attainment efforts. We know that increasing equitable attainment of postsecondary degrees and credentials will be critical to economic recovery. Explicit goals to improve postsecondary outcomes by race and ethnicity will unquestionably help us move further faster. 

This brief offers five concrete strategies that state and institutional leaders can use to accelerate equity in the attainment agenda and features illustrative examples from the field. Keeping equity at the forefront, states and communities can push for advancements in attainment that center on the students that systems of higher education have previously failed.