Investing in Higher Education for Our Community

Investing in higher education is good for our students and for our community. College graduates with bachelor’s degrees typically earn 66 percent more than those with only a high school diploma and are fare less likely to face unemployment. When more of a community has college degrees, there is an increase of economic activity that attracts business and investment to the area. Currently, 48% of Americans hold a high quality credential beyond high school, and in Racine only 26% of adults age 25 and older have these credentials.


Our Work

In September of 2017 Higher Expectations was designated as a Lumina Foundation Talent Hub. Cities earn this new designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households. Together with our College Enrollment and Completion partners, we work to increase the number of Racine residents attending college and earning degrees. Right now our Talent Hub partners are working in the following areas:


College Enrollment

Our goal is to increase the number of students, especially first generation students and students of color, who enroll in post-secondary education. Together with our post-secondary partners, Racine and Kenosha Unified School Districts, area non-profits and community organizations we are working on identifying barriers and advancing strategies that will increase college enrollment in Racine.


Forward Together

We work with Gateway and Parkside to better align curriculum and program requirements so that students can seamlessly go from an associate’s degree program at Gateway to a bachelors program at UW-Parkside. This way, students who take courses at either institution are able to transfer without losing credits, and remain on track to earn their degree. Learn more here.


Guided Pathways

We work with partners to create initiatives to encourage students to complete their degrees in 2 or 4 years, like UW-Parksides 15 to Finish program, or Gateway’s Career Pathway. Other efforts include creating student-centered models for scheduling classes so that students can better balance school with other responsibilities and graduate on time.


Math Pathways

Together with Gateway Technical College and UW-Parkside, we work to increase the number of students who complete math requirements in their first year. By creating math pathway programs, students are able to reduce their remedial coursework and can take more classes that earn credits towards their degree. Learn more about Parkside math pathways.


Academic and Social Support

Higher Expectations supports Gateway and Parkside as they create new advising models focused on ensuring all students. These advising models ensure students have access to the academic and social support they need to take the right courses, be successful in them, and earn their degrees on time.


Higher education regional alliance (HERA)

We are spearheading Complete College America’s work by bringing together eighteen post-secondary institutions in southeastern Wisconsin to discuss competition strategies. With HERA, we’ve led efforts to include completion strategies in our state’s post-secondary legislative policies. Learn more about recent efforts here.

College Enrollment & Completion Partners

Click on an icon to learn more about our other Outcome Areas: