Why It Matters


Higher education is a prerequisite for professional success in the 21st century and a cornerstone of the American dream. Yet fewer than half of Americans hold bachelor’s degrees due to an inability of many colleges and universities to provide the financial, cultural, academic, and personal support that students need. As a result, the United States – once the world leader in education – is now ranked ninth on the list of most-educated countries in the world.

The consequences of an undereducated America go far beyond the individual. American companies – the majority of which increasingly rely on employees with postsecondary degrees – also suffer from an undereducated American workforce. In today’s global market, this lack of human capital has far-reaching ramifications, undercutting the nation’s ability to compete with emerging economic powers.

Last but not least, American institutions of higher education are facing unprecedented challenges that include declining revenue sources, increasing competition for those sources, and a rapidly changing student marketplace. In order to secure their long-term sustainability, American colleges and universities need to dramatically change the way they do business.

The Edvance Foundation was founded to build upon the exceptional strengths that already exist in American higher education and to create new, innovative, and entrepreneurial ways to reimagine and refine how higher education leaders think and how institutions operate. Through its programs, the Foundation seeks to broaden American higher education’s internal and external partnerships in order to foster the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial, knowledge-based economy.

[1] Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development
[2] “The Undereducated American” by Anthony P. Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose

Recommended Reading and Listening

  • "College Graduation Rates Are Stagnant Even as Enrollment Rises, a Study Finds"
    Tamar Lewin
  • "American Higher Education: ‘First in the World’"
    Martha J. Kanter
  • "Group Seeks a Way to Ease College Transfer Process"
    Peter Schworm
  • "In Tennessee, a Possible Model for Higher Education"
    Larry Abramson