Lumina Foundation Lumina is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college. In fact, we are the nation's largest foundation dedicated exclusively to increasing students' access to and success in postsecondary education. Our mission is defined by Goal 2025-to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:58:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Starbucks model for tuition reimbursement Wed, 16 Jul 2014 20:34:34 +0000 matthew More »]]> The percentage of Americans who have a two-year or four-year college degree is now 39.4 percent — the highest in the nation’s history, but a far cry from where the nation needs to be given the increasing global demand for people with postsecondary education credentials.  Indeed, the U.S. now ranks 11th in the world in postsecondary attainment, with countries like Korea, Canada and Japan experiencing rates well above 50 percent.  The dynamic global economy is fueling an ever-increasing demand for skills and talent, and most countries around the world are responding to this demand by increasing the higher education attainment of their people.  

In the U.S., there have been modest but steady increases in enrollment.  Yet only about half all students actually complete their studies.  One in five U.S. adults has some college credits but never obtained a degree.  

For too many, life — whether family obligations, job pressures or their personal financial circumstances – gets in the way. According to a 2009 Public Agenda study, 31 percent of 22- to 30-year-old college dropouts said they dropped out because they could no longer afford it.

This is particularly true for the large numbers of low-income, minority teenagers, who make up the nation’s fastest growing population groups — and therefore its richest pool of future talent.

Government has an important role to play in increasing the nation’s supply of talent.  But so, too, does the private sector.  Tuition reimbursement is one mechanism for employers to do their part, and is fairly common at large corporations. Employers from Apple to WalMart now offer some form of tuition aid for employees, in differing amounts. But focusing on a group that has already demonstrated the desire to attain a college education and the advances it can offer might prove particularly successful.

One corporation has now devised a plan that focuses on workers who have started a college degree at some point, but never finished. And this could offer a template that other businesses might follow.

Starbucks recently announced that it will cover full tuition in 40 different programs for employees studying at Arizona State University, whose online degree program is ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report.  This new program offers counseling and coaching support, to help students navigate through the learning process.  

Employees also don’t have to pay Starbucks back if they leave.

Strategies like the one being launched by Starbucks acknowledge that demand for talent is rising rapidly across the nation. Projections by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce indicate that two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require postsecondary degrees or certificates by the end of this decade.

This growing demand for high-quality talent is evident in the widening wage gap. Those with a college degree earn more than 80 percent more than those with just a high school credential. And this divide has continued to grow for some time—even during the 2008-2010 recession—and has accelerated in recent years.

Millions of Americans recognize this, as indicated by the fact that enrollment in higher education institutions continues to rise.  Yet with so many of those failing to complete, the dream of a better life resulting from a college education is still just that—a dream.

The Starbucks program will not change the world on its own. Even if a quarter of all Starbucks employees take advantage of the program, it means about 30,000 to 40,000 people will benefit. That’s a start, but it’s a far cry from the nearly 14 million more degrees that Lumina Foundation has estimated will need to be produced nationally to meet future workforce needs.

That’s why all employers must invest in talent development to meet their own needs, to respond to the needs of the communities where they operate, and to contribute to national goals.  Starbucks is doing just that with its completion-focused the College Achievement Plan. But employers of all sizes and types must follow suit. Their combined efforts will have a measurable impact on millions of workers, and thereby on the nation’s collective well-being.

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Excelsior College Commencement Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:45:12 +0000 matthew More »]]>

Remarks by Jamie P. Merisotis, President, Lumina Foundation
Excelsior College Commencement, Albany, NY

Thank you, and good afternoon, graduates. I am very pleased to be here and to congratulate all of you on this life-changing day. It’s truly a privilege for me to join your professors, President Ebersole and the leaders of Excelsior College as we honor your achievement.

Watch the full commencement speech | 10:18

And make no mistake: It is a wonderful achievement. Your degrees represent years of hard work and sacrifice, and I commend each and every one of you for that effort. And as I commend each of you, I also want to take a moment to note the contributions of your families and friends—many of whom have traveled from around the country to be here today with you. As each one of you now knows first-hand, no one gets to this stage alone. No one becomes a college graduate without the patience and support of others ― an understanding spouse … cooperative children … helpful aunts, cousins, parents and other family members and friends. So I salute all of you for this significant—and shared—achievement.

I don’t want to stop with congratulations, however. I also want to thank all of you for what you have done. You may not fully realize it now—particularly on a day like today, which is properly focused on celebrating personal victories—but the degree you’ve earned isn’t just about you, or even the loved ones who share this moment with you. It benefits all of us as Americans.

You see, you are the solution to our nation’s most vexing problem. You, and other graduates like you, are the answer to America’s most pressing need … the need for talent.

The strength of our nation—of any nation ― is the talent of its people: the sum total of the knowledge, skills and abilities inherent in its citizens. Only with sufficient talent, and the right kinds of talent, can we meet the demands of the exciting, rapidly changing—and yes, at times somewhat terrifying new era in which we all live.

I know you’ve felt the pressures of that new era. I’m told that the average age of this graduating class is 37 … that the overwhelming majority of you are, like me, the first generation in your families to graduate from college … that most of you held down jobs while attending classes here at Excelsior. In fact, many of you have been in the workforce for decades. You live and work in the real world. You know first-hand—and better than anyone ― how quickly and how profoundly that world is changing.

Many of you have lived through the hard times, no matter what part of the country you come from. Here in upstate New York, more than 100,000 traditional manufacturing jobs were lost between 2000 and 2008. And you’re here today, as the region—like many other across the nation—makes an historic shift to advanced manufacturing and other leading-edge industries such as life sciences and biotechnology. In fact, a fair number of you are very much a part of that historic shift. You’re here today to accept degrees in technology or nursing or health sciences.

Whatever credential you accept this afternoon, however—whether in liberal arts or business or public service ― you’ve been part of another historic shift … a change that might even be more significant than the shift to high-tech employment. I’m talking about a monumental shift within higher education itself: the shift away from the traditional idea of “going to college.” Your experience here at Excelsior ― an experience geared to adult students, one rooted in online learning and designed specifically to meet students’ needs—represents the future of higher education.

You and your Excelsior classmates are part of an immensely powerful wave: the wave of 21st century students. It’s an amazingly diverse group encompassing a wide range of ages, ethnicities, income levels, family situations and life experiences. In short, it’s a group that represents all of America … and, as I said earlier, we need to tap into all of this nation’s talent if we hope to thrive in this demanding era.

Today more than ever, higher education is the key to unlocking that talent. Unfortunately, American higher education wasn’t built for the 21st century student. In fact, college was originally designed to educate just a favored few, the elite. Thankfully, that has changed, and more changes are coming.

Schools like Excelsior—which are results-oriented, student-centered and responsive to the needs of individuals, employers and society—these institutions are helping to redefine college. They are paving the way for a much-needed new approach. And every one of you is living proof that this new approach is working.

We’ve heard from some naysayers recently that a college degree isn’t worth what it once was … that, particularly as college costs continue to rise, the time and effort and expense required to earn that degree may represent a poor investment. We’ve heard that it’s better simply to possess an entrepreneurial spirit … that it makes more sense to actively pursue a passion in the “real world” than to spend years in the world of academe.

The naysayers sound persuasive. After all, who can argue with the idea of following your passion and working to shape your own destiny in the real world? The problem is, today’s real world won’t be tomorrow’s or the next day’s. Jobs, workplaces, even entire industries and sectors … all can change quickly in our high-tech, global economy. This is one reason why, according to a government report released just this week, the people who graduated from college in 2008—when the worst recession in our lifetimes began—have such a low unemployment rate. The value of a college education in this new economy just continues to grow.

More importantly, what we know about the future is that without the knowledge and skills and growth we gain from college—creative thinking, adaptability, intellectual curiosity, problem-solving, the ability to connect disparate ideas, communications expertise—without these things, real-world success is likely to be very short-lived.

I assure you, then, that college is worth it. It’s worth it because it prepares us for the world that is really real … the one that is constantly changing and challenging … the one that all of you inhabit.

I, for one, have every confidence that you will continue to succeed in that world. After all, you’ve already proven yourselves to be pioneers. Here at Excelsior, you’ve been on the cutting edge of change in higher education. You’ve learned in exciting new ways and, in many ways, you’ve set an example of innovation for others to follow.

Your alma mater has done a wonderful job of serving you, as 21st century students. For more than four decades, this institution has made higher education a reality for many thousands of striving individuals … students who, for many reasons, found the traditional path to college to be rocky—or even blocked altogether.

As students, you have certainly benefited from Excelsior’s success. But you also helped create that success. After all, when all is said and done, without you—without your dedication and resolve and hard work—there would be no success to celebrate, whether individual or institutional.

You’ve worked hard to earn your spot in today’s ceremony. Today, with that well-earned piece of paper in hand, every one of you is a step closer to realizing your dreams—and our society will be very much improved because of that.

I urge you to make the most of the opportunities before you.  Because, my friends, the 21st century is here. And you are the 21st century. So keep striving and do great things—for your own sake, and for all of the rest of us who share this “real world” with you.

Again, congratulations to each of you on this memorable day. And thank you for inviting me to be part of it.

Excelsior College graduates receive diplomas | | July 12, 2014

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A College Planning Checklist Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:27:58 +0000 matthew More »]]> More »]]> 0 Administrative Assistant Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:04:37 +0000 matthew More »]]> Job Title: Administrative Assistant (Non-exempt)
Department: Policy and Mobilization
Reports to: Executive Assistant
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana


Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.


The Administrative Assistant provides general and specialized administrative support by prioritizing tasks, effectively planning time, anticipating needs, and operating with a sense of urgency. Acts as an internal and external communication liaison.


  • General Administrative and Specialized Support
    • Manage calendar and workflow for assigned area.
    • Schedule and organize activities such as internal and external meetings, travel arrangements, conferences, and other departmental activities.
    • Appropriately disseminate incoming communications and prioritizes as critical or non-critical. Prepare and submit expenses reports and check requests.
    • May compose general correspondence, memos, meeting minutes and prepare presentations as needed.
    • Proofread copy for spelling, grammar, and layout and makes appropriate changes. Maintain electronic and paper files in an efficient and easily-accessible manner and utilizing technology platforms (i.e., Sharepoint) in accordance with the Foundation’s document retention policy. Assist in preparing and tracking the departmental budget and verify invoices to be paid as requested.
    • Represent the department in a professional and collegial manner.
    • Provide administrative support to multiple staff, internal committees, teams and workgroups.
  • Other
    • Perform other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

  • Associate’s degree or demonstrated competency in business, education or other related content area.
  • 3 years’ experience in an administrative support role.


  • Strong Microsoft Office skills.
  • Strong knowledge of database systems.
  • Strong interpersonal and customer relations skills for interaction among staff, grantees, vendors and contractors, displaying a high degree of diplomacy, tact and professionalism, including excellent phone etiquette.
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills.
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong ability to multi-task, set priorities, triage work and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and handle sensitive information.
  • Ability to apply sound situational decision making.
  • Ability to use technology effectively.

Work Environment and Physical Demands

  • Work is performed in an office environment, mostly sedentary.
  • Visual and auditory acuity for extensive use of various forms of technology.
  • Sitting and standing for long periods of time.
  • Lifting up to 20 pounds.

This Position Summary is only a summary of the typical job functions, not an exhaustive list of all possible responsibilities, and may be subject to change at any time due to reasonable accommodation or other reasons.

Applicants should send to the e-mail address below a letter of interest and resume as attachments outlining experience relevant to the position and desired compensation.

Please specify the position you are applying for.

Shelley Lloyd
Director of Human Resources and Administration

Equal Opportunity Employer

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Lumina Ideas Summit: New pathways to higher education diversity Tue, 17 Jun 2014 05:17:24 +0000 matthew Watch now »]]> #body-inner { width: 990px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; } #body-inner p { width: 700px; font-size: 12pt; margin: 0px 0px 24px 250px; } #body-inner figcaption { font-size: 11pt; margin: 6px; } #body-inner .rotatingtweets { width: 100% !important; } #body-inner p.rtw_main { margin: 10px; width: 100% !important; } #prettyTheSequel { margin-left: 0px; text-align: left; min-height: 140px; } table.quads { border-collapse: separate; border-spacing: 10px; }

Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center

1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC

June 17, 2014, 9am Eastern

This summit will reinforce the importance of racial and socioeconomic diversity in higher education, and identify new paths to achieving these goals relative to legal constraints recently determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As the U.S. student population becomes increasingly diverse, ensuring access to selective colleges and universities has become more and more important. While the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Fisher v. University of Texas and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action impose new hurdles to considering race in university admissions, new research suggests colleges can increase both racial and economic diversity through a variety of creative strategies.

Part 1

9:10amKeynote Address: The Imperative to Act
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University—Newark
Derron Wallace
9:40amSetting the Stage
Arthur Coleman, Managing Partner, Education Counsel, LLC
Scott Greytak, Attorney at Law, Campinha Bacote LLP
Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights
Moderator: Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Part 2

10:10amState Experiences
Richard McCormick, President Emeritus, Rutgers University
Matthew Gaertner, Research Scientist, Center for College and Career Success, Assessment and Instruction, Pearson
Halley Potter, Policy Associate, The Century Foundation
Moderator: Sam Fulwood, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Part 3

11:00amPromising Practices
John Brittain, Law Professor, School of Law, University of the District of Columbia
Sheryll Cashin, Professor of Law, Georgetown University
Anthony Carnevale, Director, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University
Jessica Howell, Executive Director of Policy Research, College Board
Moderator: Jamie Merisotis, President & CEO, Lumina Foundation

Part 4

12:00pmHelping Universities Act—Policy Proposals
Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
Susan Johnson, Director of Equity and Inclusion, Lumina Foundation
The views expressed in this webcast are those of its speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of Lumina Foundation, its officers or employees, as well as The Century Foundation, its officers or employees.

Follow the twitter conversation at #HEDiversity

If Affirmative Action Is Doomed, What’s Next? | David Leonhardt | New York Times | June 17, 2014
What Sotomayor Gets Wrong About Affirmative Action | Richard Kahlenberg | Chronicle of Higher Education | June 17, 2014
Race-Blind Affirmative Action? | Jake New | Inside HigherEd | June 18, 2014

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New Research: Affirmative Action Based on Disadvantage Could Increase Racial Diversity at America’s Most Elite Colleges Tue, 17 Jun 2014 04:16:08 +0000 matthew More »]]> WASHINGTON–()–New research reveals African-American and Hispanic enrollments at America’s 193 most elite colleges would more than double if the top ten percent of every class were guaranteed admission and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds were given an admissions boost.

The research, authored by Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Jeff Strohl, is featured in a new book launched by the Century and Lumina Foundations entitled The Future of Affirmative Action: New Paths to Higher Education Diversity after Fisher v. University of Texas.

The case for affirmative action based on disadvantage is now clear. #HEDiversity

“Our analyses demonstrate that there are sizable numbers of minorities and low-income students who can improve diversity at the 193 “Most” and “Highly” selective colleges as listed in Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, without appreciably lowering college-wide test scores and thereby graduation rates,” said Georgetown University Professor Anthony P. Carnevale.

Carnevale and his team modeled the effects of three race-neutral admissions plans, shown in the figure below, compared with the status quo and a pure merit-based admissions model.

Admitting the top ten percent of students from each high school class based on test-scores alone would increase African American enrollments from 4% to 6% and Hispanic enrollments from 7% to 11%, while also increasing the mean SAT score from the current 1230, to 1254.

Admitting the top ten percent, combined with taking into account sophisticated SES factors – such as family income, savings and education – African American and Hispanic enrollments would double to 9% and 14% respectively, while mean SAT scores would lower only modestly to 1160.

“The case for affirmative action based on disadvantage is now clear,” said Richard Kahlenberg, TCF senior fellow and editor of The Future of Affirmative Action: New Paths to Higher Education Diversity after Fisher v. University of Texas.

“Colleges need to get their heads out of the sand and start taking action to ensure racial diversity is maintained on campuses, even where race-based affirmative action is longer an option.”

The book, launched at a Lumina Ideas Summit in Washington DC today, features articles from college presidents, chancellors and administrators, as well as academics, lawyers and economists and represents a major step forward in the campaign for continued diversity on college campuses in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions that have cast doubt over race-based admissions policies.

“We’re very pleased to support the publication of this timely and important new book,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Lumina is committed to fostering equity and excellence in higher education, and we believe the fresh thinking reflected in this volume can contribute significantly to that effort.”

Alternatives to race-based affirmative action explored in the book include:

  • Sophisticated SES measures that take into account parental income, education and savings, as well as neighborhood factors such as school poverty concentration;
  • Percent plans that guarantee admission to top graduates from each high school across a state;
  • Reducing reliance on standardized test scores;
  • Using zip-codes as a factor in admissions;
  • Addressing undermatch, not just at elite colleges, but across the full range of four year institutions; and
  • Establishing a national database of admissible students to help colleges recruit representative cohorts.

To access the full report visit:

To watch the live webcast of today’s Lumina Ideas Summit where The Future of Affirmative Action will be launched visit:

For more information or to speak with any of the contributors featured in the volume contact:

Lucia Anderson Weathers
Lumina Foundation


Lucy Muirhead
The Century Foundation

Full list of contributors:

  • Editor: Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Danielle Allen, UPS Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
  • John Brittain, Professor of Law University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law.
  • Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark.
  • Anthony P. Carnevale, Director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
  • Dalton Conley, University Professor at New York University.
  • Arthur L. Coleman, Co-founder and co-managing partner of EducationCounsel LLC.
  • Peter Englot, Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff at Rutgers University-Newark.
  • Matthew N. Gaertner, Senior Research Scientist at the Center for College and Career Success at Pearson.
  • Sara Goldrick-Rab, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Scott Greytak, Associate with Campinha Bacote LLC.
  • Catharine Hill, President of Vassar College
  • Jessica Howell, Economist and Executive Director of Policy Research at the College Board.
  • Benjamin Landy, homepage editor at MSNBC and former Policy Associate at The Century Foundation.
  • Richard L. McCormick, President Emeritus and Professor of History and Education at Rutgers.
  • Nancy McDuff, Director of Admissions, University of Georgia.
  • Halley Potter, Policy Associate, The Century Foundation.
  • Alexandria Walton Radford, Director of the Transition to College Program at RTI International.
  • Stephen J. Rose, Senior Economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
  • Richard Sander, Economist and Law Professor at UCLA’s School of Law.
  • Jeff Strohl, Director of Research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
  • Teresa Taylor, Policy and Legal Advisor, EducationCounsel LLC.
  • Marta Tienda, Maurice P. During ‘22 Professor of Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University.


Lumina Foundation
Lucia Anderson Weathers, 317-951-5316
The Century Foundation
Lucy Muirhead, 917-244-4213

]]> 0 Lumina Foundation’s Equity Imperative Mon, 16 Jun 2014 20:35:50 +0000 matthew Read why equity matters »]]> Read why equity matters »]]> 0 Reflections on Lumina’s History, and Its Future Wed, 11 Jun 2014 22:10:44 +0000 matthew More »]]> Jamie P. Merisotis

Every once in a while, Lumina Foundation is asked—and occasionally even confronted, as was the case in a recent article in an online media outlet—about its history as a foundation whose assets came from a student loan transaction. Rather than leave it to others to try to characterize, I’d like to explain in my own words what Lumina Foundation is, and what we care about as a national foundation.

Lumina Foundation was formed in 2000 when USA Group sold its operating assets to Sallie Mae. Lumina’s current 12-member board of directors includes three former Sallie Mae board members. None of those board members has had any connection to the student loan industry for more than a decade. Lumina’s board is a distinguished and diverse group that includes former college presidents, business leaders and nationally-recognized leaders with significant public policy experience. No member of the Lumina staff, including myself, has ties to the student loan industry.

As CEO, I’m best known for my history as founder and CEO of an independent, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and for my work leading a bipartisan national commission that produced a report in 1993 that proposed, among other things, the replacement of the bank-based federal student loan program in favor of a direct student loan system. I consider myself ferociously independent from a political perspective. What I care about most is helping the country dramatically increase high-quality postsecondary educational attainment to benefit our collective well-being—economically, socially and culturally.

The Foundation has been an independent, non-partisan organization since its formation. Most of our grantees and partners do not work in the public policy realm and have no particular ideological or political perspective. They care about increasing postsecondary attainment, like we do. Many of them disagree with each other—something we think is important in helping to shape the best possible strategies. Examples of recent partners with a more federal policy-focused orientation run the gamut of perspectives and include the Center for American Progress, Young Invincibles, Brookings Institution, New America Foundation, and American Enterprise Institute, to name just a few.

The present and future for Lumina is singularly focused on Goal 2025, which is our commitment to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. We undertake our work in a transparent fashion and our stated views on creating a student-centered, learning-focused system of higher education are all available on our web site at

We believe that all Americans deserve access to a high-quality, affordable postsecondary education that can help them meet their goals, including a good job and a good life. Student loans occupy a fairly small part of what we have thought about as an organization, though, like many others, we have sought to find ways to address the growing levels of student debt that have become a major challenge for society. We are concerned that excessive debt adversely influences what careers people choose and whether to start a family, own a house, or run a business.

From the vantage point of federal policy, that means federal student aid programs should ensure access to higher education for the large numbers of low-income, first generation and minority students who have not been well-served, while also providing incentives to complete programs in a more transparent, predictable manner. It’s also clear that colleges and universities must fundamentally rethink the way they deliver education. This means supporting both institutional practice and public policy that aims to serve more students better—speeding up time to degree, limiting student borrowing, engaging faculty in the rapid changes taking place in higher education, and supporting competency-based learning models, among other approaches.

We support innovation in higher education, and we solicit and help to advance the best ideas from a wide range of sources across the spectrum. This represents a change in philanthropy that’s garnering some attention. You see, we believe that philanthropic organizations—like Lumina—exist for one reason: to use the assets we hold in trust to act as society’s risk-takers. Our only bottom line is to ensure social progress—a daunting charge, but one that should inspire fortitude and foster real leadership.

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that America is demanding this approach. According to a recent Gallup/Lumina poll, 89 percent of Americans say that higher education institutions need to change to better serve today’s students. Policymakers in a growing number of states are enacting outcomes-based funding formulas, tying higher education funding not to mere enrollment of students, but to the success of those students. Other states and systems are experimenting with innovative ways to provide financial aid to low-income students; they’re also exploring ways to reduce remediation, accelerate student progress and increase attainment for all types of students.

People who see a connection between Lumina and the student loan industry are looking back on a history that is long past. Our current work and future focus are aimed at ensuring that many more students can get into and through postsecondary learning environments, armed with skills and knowledge that will make them productive at work, and happier and more successful as citizens, family members and community leaders. That’s what Lumina Foundation is about, now and for as long as I am privileged to serve as its CEO.

Jamie Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation.

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Thirty-five communities added to Lumina Foundation’s community-based postsecondary education attainment strategy Thu, 05 Jun 2014 04:02:36 +0000 matthew More »]]>
– Today, 35 new U.S. communities were announced in the second cohort of Lumina Foundation’s community-based postsecondary education attainment strategy. The strategy was designed to help communities and regions dramatically increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials. The collaborative effort connects participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding, and the ability to customize attainment plans that will best suit each community’s needs and the well-being of its residents.

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give civic leaders the tools they need to be successful.”

Video: Lumina Initiative Gives Community Leaders Support to Deepen Local Efforts

Lumina’s goal for this work is to mobilize all sectors in a community to improve postsecondary attainment. Communities will partner with Lumina and national thought leaders through 2016 to establish attainment goals. Organizations will work with national partners to develop an action plan focused on reaching the attainment goal to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents.

Progress toward the goal will be measured by credentials earned after high school, including certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees held by local residents. The cities selected have already demonstrated momentum in advancing attainment agendas, and this effort aims to expand and deepen their work.

“It is our intention that Lumina’s support will bolster the great work already being done in our Partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength,” said Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation overseeing this work.

The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina’s partners in this effort will provide guidance to the cities as they develop goals and action plans. The national thought-leadership organizations that communities will have access to through this work include: the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Brookings Institution, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA Inc., Excelencia in Education, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Michigan College Access Network, the National College Access Network, the National League of Cities, the OMG Center, the Say Yes to Education Foundation, and Strive Together.

“We are pleased to partner with Lumina Foundation to raise educational attainment in communities across the country,” said Clifford M. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at the National League of Cities. “Mayors and other city leaders know that by collaborating across sectors to boost college completion rates, they are helping to boost the economic development of the city, and the quality of life and well-being of their neighborhoods and families.”

The second cohort of communities includes: Akron, Ohio; Albany, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Coachella Valley, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Hartford, Conn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Hampshire Region; New York, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Northwest Indiana Region; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; Rio Grande Valley Region; Salt Lake City, Utah; Savannah, Ga.; Spokane, Wash.; Southwest Florida Region; Washington, D.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Second cohort
Akron/Summit, OHDerren
Albany, NYDavid
Austin, TXJessica
Berkeley, CAMatthai
Chicago, IL Elizabeth
Cleveland, OHElizabeth
Coachella Valley, CABeth
Columbia, SCTonia
Corpus Christi, TXClaudia
Dallas, TXTarik
Denver, CO Dana
Detroit, MINicole de
Grand Rapids, MILynn
Hartford, CTMary Crean
Jacksonville, FLMatt
Kansas City, MOBarbara
Las Vegas, NVVanessa
Los Angeles, CAAni
Milwaukee, WIDanya
Nashville, TNMichele
National Capital Region, DC & Surrounding areaJenny
New Hampshire RegionKristen
New York City, NYLisa Castillo
Newark, NJDr. Roland V.
Northwest Indiana RegionBarbara
Orlando, FLAshley
Phoenix, AZMary Lou
Portland, ORJeanie-Marie
Richmond, VAJonathan
Rio Grande Valley, TXGeorge
Salt Lake City, UTKaren
Savannah, GABrenda
Spokane, WAJanice
Southwest Florida RegionCarolyn
Winston-Salem, NCMary

“Education is the key force behind prosperity,” said David Rattray, senior vice president of Education & Workforce Development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and President of UNITE-LA. “We in Los Angeles are very excited to be a part of this national effort, not only to leverage the resources and expertise the Partnership provides, but to share what we know with other communities working on the same challenges.”

Lumina plans to invest approximately $5.6 million into the second cohort and over $13 million directly to communities over the course of the program. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $160,000 over a 2.5-year period, which will be tied to achievement of goals.

About Lumina Foundation:  Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

Media contact:

Lucia Anderson Weathers
Lumina Foundation

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Lumina Foundation Launches Challenge to Bridge the Gap between Education and Business Thu, 05 Jun 2014 04:01:59 +0000 matthew The Economist Group and InnoCentive, has launched a new crowdsourcing challenge which will generate solutions to closing the skills gap and increasing communication between higher education and today’s workforce. More »]]> Challenge winner to receive $10,000 and one on one coaching from leaders of industry

New York (June 4, 2014)—Lumina Foundation, in partnership with The Economist Group and InnoCentive, has launched a new crowdsourcing challenge which will generate solutions to closing the skills gap and increasing communication between higher education and today’s workforce.

Open to the public, the Challenge seeks to create a product or service that will facilitate communication between employers and higher education in order to better teach skills that are relevant and necessary for today’s workforce.

“Today’s employers want to hire graduates with a broad array of knowledge and skills—not just specific content knowledge, but transferable skills like critical thinking, the ability to solve unscripted problems, and to communicate effectively,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Higher education and employers must work together to prepare students for real-world success.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s newly released report “ Closing the skills gap: Companies and colleges collaborating for change,” sponsored by Lumina Foundation, highlights the skills that employers feel are lacking in recent graduates. The study reveals that employers want graduates with strong “soft skills” such as the ability to communicate and collaborate at a high level, ranking these “soft skills” as the most important workplace skills for employees to possess when joining a company.

Companies and colleges collaborating for change

Closing the skills gap

30 pgs. | 1M | PDF

Key findings include

Semi-finalists of the Challenge will receive coaching from both a VC and Communications expert as well as a chance to compete on the main-stage at The Economist Higher Education Forum 2014. The winner will receive a monetary prize of $10,000. Submissions for the challenge will be open from June 4—July 25, 2014. Further information on the challenge and submission guidelines can be found here.

Join the conversation and connect with attendees and speakers on Twitter via  #Skillsgapchallenge

About Lumina

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

About The Economist Group

The Economist Group is the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs. We deliver our information through a range of formats, from newspapers and magazines to conferences and electronic services. What ties us together is the objectivity of our opinion, the originality of our insight and our advocacy of economic and political freedom around the world.

About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific and technical challenges. Our global network of millions of problem solvers, proven challenge methodology and cloud-based innovation management platform combine to help our clients transform their economics of innovation through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs.

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