Program Goals

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Today, too few students are ready for college. Next Generation Learning Challenges is a collaborative, multi-year initiative created to address the barriers to educational innovation and tap the potential of technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States.

We believe that investing in transformative learning strategies that leverage proven and emerging learning technologies, collecting and sharing evidence of what works, and fostering a community of innovators and adopters will result in a robust pool of solutions and greater institutional adoption. This in turn will dramatically improve education in the United States.

Educators, institutions, and entrepreneurs are developing and testing many potentially breakthrough strategies, but too often they have little awareness of one another and few opportunities to share their innovations. They need support to refine and rigorously test their solutions, to connect with like-minded innovators, and to develop strategies to broaden their reach and impact. NGLC’s goals include providing that support - and ending “innovation isolation” by advancing proven models that catalyze rapid and significant improvements in college readiness and success.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Just over half of the students in public K-12 schools come from low-income families. The high school graduation rate for low-income students, at 72 percent, is 15 points lower than the 87 percent of higher-income students who graduate.

  • Over the last 40 years, average spending per-pupil has doubled, from $4,529 to $11,184 (in constant 2012 dollars), but student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has barely improved.

  • Just 56 percent of bachelor’s degree students graduate in six years and only 29 percent of associate’s degree students graduate in three-years. Among low-income students, completion rates are even lower: 45 percent for full-time and 17 percent for part-time bachelor’s degree seekers and 12 percent for full-time and 4 percent for part-time associate’s degree students. 

  • In 2012, the median wage for young people with a bachelor’s degree was $46,900, compared to $30,000 for those with only a high school diploma and $22,900 for those who didn’t finish high school. 

  • By 2020, 65 percent of all U.S. jobs will require postsecondary education. The U.S. higher education system will fall short of educating the number of workers needed by 5 million students.