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Video Replay: Are We on the Verge of a Breakthrough in Reversing America’s ‘Diploma Disparity’? Special Aspen Ideas Festival Conversation Looks to Improve Equity on College Campuses

By Steve Snyder | June 26, 2019

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Students from low-income families have just a 13 percent chance of graduating from college within six years. That stark fact has driven a good deal of our education coverage over the past year. It’s also the urgent education crisis that motivated us to join forces with journalist Richard Whitmire in publishing his newest book, The B.A. Breakthrough: How Ending Diploma Disparities Can Change the Face of America. (You can see the special B.A. Breakthrough microsite, order the book and read the most popular chapters at The74Million.org/Breakthrough)

On June 28, this broader issue of America’s “diploma disparity” took center stage at the 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival, as University of California President Janet Napolitano was joined in conversation by Aspen Institute CEO Dan Porterfield, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson and the New York Times’ David Brooks for the panel “Ending Diploma Disparities Can Change the Face of America.” Whitmire introduced the event, offering up lessons and reflections from his time reporting out the book.

Here’s a full video replay from Colorado:

Leading up to June’s event, we published an array of interviews, essays, news and analysis tied to these panelists and the bigger issues of equity, mobility and college completion:

Janet Napolitano: 74 Interview — University of California president and former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano on DACA, Title IX and the value of college (Read the full interview)

Janice Jackson: Pulling all the levers — Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson on getting more students to and through college (Read the full interview)

Dan Porterfield: From Georgetown to Franklin & Marshall to Aspen, how Dan Porterfield is leading a revolution to get first-generation students through college with a degree (Read the full profile)

Richard Whitmire: As school districts collaborate with top charters and foundations, we’re on the cusp of a breakthrough in guiding low-income and minority students to a college diploma (Read the full story)

Research: New Pell Institute study finds “critical” gap in college success between low- and high-income students. Here are 3 reasons for hope (Read the full story)

Analysis: New numbers show that low-income students at most of America’s largest charter school networks are graduating from college at two to four times the national average (Read the full story)

College Statistics: Alarming stats tell the story behind America’s college completion crisis: Nearly a third of all college students still don’t have a degree six years later (Read the full story)

High School Analysis: When it comes to predicting which college students will actually go on to attain a bachelor’s degree, high school GPA is king (Read the full story)

Community College: Expanding the community college-to-university pipeline — Why more elite schools are embracing transfers and the 15,000 annual community graduates with 3.7 GPAs (Read the full story)

Go Deeper: Read excerpts, analyze the numbers and download Richard Whitmire’s new book, The B.A. Breakthrough: How Ending Diploma Disparities Can Change the Face of America at The74Million.org/Breakthrough

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Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation is a sponsor of the Aspen Ideas Festival and provides financial support to The 74.

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