Level the Playing Field
in Higher Education

The high cost of college is a challenge for a wide cross section of Americans, but working-class families and people of color, particularly African Americans and Latinos, are getting hit the hardest. We are working to reduce the financial barriers to a college degree and the opportunities that come with it.

The Rising Costs of a College Diploma

Despite increasing affordability challenges, a college degree still conveys undeniable power and value.

On average, young people who graduate from college earn 80% more than those with a high school education and are more likely to be employed. Education also helps democracy and the economy thrive. College graduates are more likely to vote and be civically engaged. And, an educated workforce means higher tax revenues, greater economic growth, more innovation, and lower unemployment.

California has historically led the nation with a public system of higher education renowned for its commitment to excellence, affordability, and accessibility.

The rising costs of attending college are threatening that legacy. In a state where the cost of living for college students has increased by over 80% in the past 40 years, students are choosing between eating and staying in school. Across California, African American and Latino students are more likely than their white peers to have to borrow to pay for their college education and in larger amounts. It’s time to restore the promise and the possibility of higher education as an important equalizer and the engine of a thriving democracy.

How We’ll Get There

Build a Movement for Change

We are working to restore and strengthen the promise of a college degree. We’re supporting efforts to:

  • Build the voice of students and other affected groups.

  • Advance ambitious policy reforms.

  • Test innovative new approaches to reduce the barriers to a college degree.

In addition to this work, the Haas, Jr. Fund continues to collaborate with longtime partners to support young people to find pathways to success in college and beyond. We are working with:

Program Staff

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela