Framing the Opportunity: Eight State Policy Recommendations that Support Postsecondary Credential Completion for Underserved Populations

At a Glance

To reestablish the US's place among nations with high postsecondary completion rates—a distinction it's lost in recent years—states are actively working toward the day when 60 percent of Americans hold postsecondary degrees or credentials.

Once first among nations in its postsecondary completion rates, the U.S. has fallen behind in international comparisons. States have made great strides in closing the gap, improving college access and completion, and working toward the goal of 60% of Americans holding a postsecondary degree or credential. But gaps remain for large swaths of the American population. In this paper, JFF suggests that paying attention to equity issues will help the U.S. reach its national credential attainment goals and live up to the American ethos of being the land of opportunity. Framing the Opportunity describes a policy approach targeted to ensuring that our postsecondary systems are designed in ways that narrow access and achievement gaps for opportunity youth, immigrants, and incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals—underserved populations that face substantial barriers to earning the postsecondary credentials needed to join the middle class.