No Commencement in the Commonwealth: Summary Presentation

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

May 29, 2018

By: Michael Dannenberg and Konrad Mugglestone

In the midst of college graduation season, Education Reform Now recently released a new report, “No Commencement in the Commonwealth: How Massachusetts’ Higher Education System Undermines Economic Mobility for Latinos and Others And What We Can Do About It” (available here) that analyzes public higher education in the Bay State and reveals that the Latino graduation gap ranks 37th in the country.

Among other findings that show how students of color experience disparate rates of college access and success in Massachusetts, the key finding of a very wide gap between White and Latino students is particularly striking given that the graduation gap between White and Black students in the Bay State is the 3rd best in the country.  It’s further surprising considering that Latino students in the Bay State have higher K-12 achievement levels than Black students in Massachusetts and higher K-12 achievement levels than Latino students nationally

The report also provides five policy recommendations for how leaders in the Commonwealth can help to close the significant graduation gap for Latinos and others in the state:

  1. Create a new, student responsibility-linked, statewide ‘free college’ promise that covers the total cost of attendance to any two or four-year public college for talented, hard-working students (i.e. who have completed a MassCore track or equivalent, among other requirements) if they are from households making less than $75,000 a year.
  2. Make MassCore available at all schools and the default academic track for all students.
  3. Provide competitive aid to school districts and non-profit organizations for high school student academic support services.
  4. Provide competitive aid to non-profit organizations and school districts to fund counseling on college selection, application and financing.
  5. Provide targeted direct aid to colleges and universities for institution-based efforts to boost completion.

Here is our downloadable PDF presentation outlining the key data points and policy recommendations from this report.