The most powerful woman at Bank of America explained how to defeat racial inequality at work: ‘It’s one thing to say Lives Matter. It’s another thing to say, with clarity, Black Lives Matter.’

At our Charlotte graduation last week Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer Cathy Bessant spoke to our students at Year Up about how companies need to address racial inequality: “Racial equality and economic mobility go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other, and I think it’s very simple for our company to say, ‘We believe in equality.’ It’s another thing to live it.”

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Lives matter.’ It’s another thing to say, with clarity, ‘Black lives matter, brown lives matter,’” she added, and “to be willing, as a company, to stand up and acknowledge the past, but more importantly, acknowledge what needs to happen to change the future.”

Please click the link below for more detail on her conversation with our students. For much more detail on how Year Up and Bank of America work together to directly address the opportunity divide in our country, please see my post below from last week.

An update from the CAEL conference on helping employees graduate from college.

Cody Cleverly from JetBlue Airlines shared at the CAEL conference in Chicago his views of Tuition Reimbursement.  He discussed leveraging alternative pathways to assist JetBlue employees in earning a college degree and paying upfront instead of reimbursing their employees, focusing on Tuition Assistance, not Reimbursement.  The average learner at JetBlue is 38 years old.  They don’t want to disrupt their work and home life to sit in a campus for years to complete a degree.

jet-blue-at-caelCody (far left) shared that the $5,250 amount for reimbursement is a relic from the past that does not help an employee complete their degree.  In fact, it often hinders them from degree completion.  They have to pay for a course up front and then be reimbursed months later.  So employees often take student loans and then get caught in a debt trap.  Or they just take two or three courses a year to stay under the reimbursement amount, which puts them on a path that usually does not end with degree completion.

Alternative credit works yet most tuition reimbursement programs don’t support alternative credit.  At Jet Blue, they are able to help employees work toward their degree at half the cost and often twice the pace of a traditional college experience.

Jet Blue has six full-time success coaches that help their employees unbundle college. They provide a model, and way of thinking, that every organization should explore.

What role should accreditation play in a true overall in the Higher Education Act?


Higher Ed needs to change.  Can our accreditation system lead this change, or do we need a new way to measure and monitor success in Higher Ed?

Barbara Gellman-Danley, President of the Higher Learning Commission and Beth Sibolski, President of MSCHE talked about innovation, the future of higher ed and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act at the 2016 CAEL conference this afternoon.

An important conversation with many challenges and no clear answers.

Fundamental questions on how success in higher ed should be measured have no clear cut answers.  By today’s DOE guidance success is measured by:

  • Graduation rates
  • Cohort default rates
  • Loacael-2016-accrediationn repayment rates
  • New DOE leadership will have a different approach on measuring institutional success, but what will it be and what role will our accreditation leadership have on the new approach?

If we can’t answer the question on how to truly measure student success, and it was clear today we can’t, perhaps we need an entirely new approach to accreditation and the Higher Education Act.  It was written over a half century ago…

In-state tuition and fees at public universities grew a staggering 296% since 1995. Use this great tool to see the increase at your college.

A great tool to take a look at tuition and fees, 1998-99 through 2016-17

This table shows the “sticker prices” — published tuition and required fees — at more than 3,000 colleges and universities for the 2016-17 academic year. Click the institutions’ names to see historical data back to 1998.  This tool is provided by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Data on the 296% increase for in-state tuition and fees at public universities since 1995 is provided by US News and World Report and their report on 20 years of tuition growth in higher ed.