NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED515229
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Who Is College for? A Community Discussion Guide
National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good (NJ1)
Today there is a growing belief that everyone who wants access to college can have it. College enrollments have continued to grow for over half a century and now it can be argued that most American families dream of a college education for their children. A 2003 report by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) demonstrates there is a growing "participation gap" in American higher education. Based upon current census data and enrollment trends, greater than 2.3 million more students will attend college by 2015 and ECS estimates this number could reach 8 million new students if a greater proportion of high school graduates attend college. This gap could well affect how many people U.S. higher education can accommodate and, as a result, who will be able to attend college. The reality individuals face is one of limited capacity to serve all students equally well. The current system is not prepared to meet the growing demand. When spaces are limited, what are the most equitable ways to admit students? At the center of this issue are important considerations regarding opportunity, fairness, and participation in "the American dream." In an era when college is seen as an important path to economic success and civic leadership, yet access to college may be limited, individuals are forced to ask the question: Who is college for? This discussion guide considers three approaches that address this very difficult question. Each approach includes: (1) A brief description of what supporters of the approach might believe about the issue; (2) What supporters would do to address the issue; (3) How opponents of the approach might respond; and (4) The tradeoffs that need to be considered. [Additional support for this paper was provided by the McGregor Fund and the State of Michigan. For the companion report, "Who Is College for? Moderator Guide," see ED515228.]
National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. 2239 School of Education Building, 610 East University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Tel: 734-615-8882; Fax: 734-615-9777; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Community
Language: English
Sponsor: American Council on Education; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Kellogg Foundation; Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance; Michigan Community Foundations; University of Michigan
Authoring Institution: University of Michigan, National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good
Identifiers - Location: United States