Educating the Top 100 Percent

Educating the Top 100 Percent Policy Pathways for Public Higher Education

Stephen G. Katsinas, Nathaniel J. Bray, and Martha J. Kanter
paper, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2022
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-710-7
Price: $35.00

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Educating the Top 100 Percent assesses the decline of higher education funding and offers ambitious policy recommendations to restore the possibility of accessible, affordable education for all.


Educating the Top 100 Percent provides a powerful treatise on public higher education’s antecedents, current plight, and future direction. The authors propose an intriguing path forward that addresses structural barriers that have persisted for decades and been exacerbated by a nation that has strayed away from understanding higher education as a public good. This book is a must read for those concerned with higher education access and success and the future of our students. — Rob Anderson, president, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association

Public polling tells us that Americans are losing confidence in higher education, and it’s not hard to see why: admissions scandals, spiraling costs, and a disquieting sense that other countries are outpacing the US in preparing students for the global economy. In this insightful analysis of history and policy, Katsinas, Bray, and Kanter show how our nation got to this point and what changes are needed to achieve equity and increase opportunity. Educating the Top 100 Percent is that rare book on higher education that is both practical and inspiring. — Thomas Brock, director and research professor, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

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About the Authors

Steve Katsinas is director of the Education Policy Center (EPC) at The University of Alabama, and professor of higher education and political science. Katsinas earned  his  bachelor’s  in  history  from  the  University  of  Illinois,  master’s  in  history and doctorate in higher education from Southern Illinois University. While working  for  Congressman  Paul  Simon,  he  wrote  the  background  report  for  the  first hearings of a congressional committee on access of Hispanics to higher education. After an initial stint at Alabama, he worked at Miami-Dade College and taught at Oklahoma State University and the Universities of Toledo and North Texas, before returning in 2005 to direct EPC. Drawing upon visits to five hundred colleges in forty-four states, and work with projects of the Ford, Kellogg, Jack Kent  Cooke,  and  Gates  foundations,  Katsinas  writes  on  college  classifications, access, finance, transfer, and student aid. He has presented at the White House five times and at the departments of Education and Agriculture six times each. The EPC has published twenty studies of Pell Grants since 2010, and this work has been recognized nationally. In 2018, he presented at convenings on HBCUs sponsored  by  the  National  Urban  League  and  ETS.  He  is  a  senior  fellow  with  College Promise.

Dr. Nathaniel J. Bray is a professor of higher education administration and associate director of the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama, and a senior fellow with College Promise. His work focuses on issues of financial access to higher education through examining institutional, state, and federal policies and their outcomes. Dr. Bray has over fifty publications on college and university functioning, and he has spent multiple terms on the editorial boards of such publications as the Journal of College Student Development, Innovative Higher Education, Journal of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education, Journal of General Education, Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, and the advisory board of the ASHE Higher Education Report Monograph series. His work has led to funded research projects on topics such as return on higher education investment, evaluation of transfer systems, Pell Grants, as well as an NSF Broadening Grant looking at community college faculty course revision in introductory STEM field courses. Prior  to  his  employment  at  Alabama,  he  worked  as  research  analyst  in  institutional research and planning analysis at Virginia Tech. Dr. Bray holds a PhD and MEd from Vanderbilt University in higher education administration, and a BA in biology from Harvard College.

Dr. Martha Kanter is chief executive officer of the College Promise Campaign, a  national  nonprofit,  nonpartisan  movement  to  increase  college  opportunity  and  student  success,  leveraging  Promise  scholarships  and  wrap-around  supports in hundreds of communities across forty-seven states and thirty-three statewide programs. She promotes policies that apply evidence-based education interventions, financing models, and behavioral incentives to raise America’s high school and college graduation rates for the college, career, and community success of our nation’s students. From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Kanter served as US under secretary of education, overseeing all federal postsecondary policies and programs. She led the successful implementation of the Direct Student Loan program, resulting in a 50 percent increase in college enrollment for low-income Pell Grant recipients, growing from 6 to more than 9 million students. From 1993 to 2009, Dr. Kanter was president of De Anza College and then chancellor of the Foothill–De Anza Community  College  District  in  Silicon  Valley,  California.  Previously,  she  was vice chancellor for policy and research for California Community Colleges. Dr. Kanter holds an EdD from the University of San Francisco. Her education career began in the ninth grade, as an intern teaching reading to third graders at Boston’s South End House. This was followed by teaching economically disadvantaged high school students in a church basement.

Table of Contents


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