Predominantly white institutions (PWIs) educate about 70% of all bachelor’s degree graduates and about half of all students of color. Students at PWIs tend to be segregated across fields of study, with women and people of color overrepresented in majors that lead to lower-paying occupations. Administrators at PWIs have a major opportunity to interrupt this segregation and promote inclusion and success of students of color in postsecondary education. This brief offers six key recommendations that administrators at PWIs can implement to reduce field of study segregation and shape a more equitable and dynamic future workforce.
From Exclusion to Opportunity: The Role of Postsecondary Education in Labor Force Segregation & Recommendations for Action
A four-year postsecondary degree offers opportunities for a higher income and upward economic mobility. However, postsecondary education—historically inaccessible to people of color and women—also plays a key role in reproducing and amplifying societal inequities by sorting students into specialized fields of study by race and gender, contributing to a segregated labor force. This report examines the link between postsecondary field of study and labor market segregation using an original quantitative analysis. This report presents four principles and corresponding recommendations that postsecondary institutions and policymakers can use to reduce racial and gender segregation across fields of study, increase degree attainment, and ultimately, ameliorate labor market segregation.
Obstacles to Opportunity: Increasing College Success by Understanding & Addressing Older Students’ Costs Beyond Tuition
Higher education offers millions of people the opportunity to improve their financial well-being. However, higher education is prohibitively expensive and can saddle people with insurmountable debt. Costs beyond tuition—such as housing, food, child care, and transportation—are large, essential components of the cost of attending college for students. In order to better understand how these living costs add up and vary, this report offers estimates of costs beyond tuition for older students between the ages of 25 – 45, who make up roughly one-third of college students and face unique barriers to college access and completion. The report shows that the real cost of college for older students is higher than commonly understood, examines older students’ challenges with financial aid and public benefits programs, and offers policy recommendations to address costs beyond tuition and improve college access and success for older students.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, essential workers have supported the well-being of our communities and the economy, but inconsistencies in federal, state, and local essential worker policies have limited some workers’ access to paid sick days, greater compensation, and other benefits. This brief, published jointly with the Workers’ Rights Institute, provides an inclusive definition of essential workers, and finds that women, people of color, and immigrants are over-represented in the essential workforce and face increased risks related to COVID-19.
For many students, the real cost of college is even higher than commonly understood. Although rising tuition costs limit college affordability, living costs—such as housing, food, and transportation—are equally essential for students striving to afford and complete college. This report examines older students’ particular challenges to college completion, describes how current measurements of costs beyond tuition do not adequately reflect older students’ experiences, and offers new estimates of older students’ spending on housing, which is typically the single greatest cost older students face.