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Colleges and universities have long been considered the equalizers of opportunity and upward mobility in the US. Before the pandemic, challenges facing universities included rapidly escalating tuition, equitable recruitment and admissions policies, workplace preparedness, and doubts regarding return on student and family investment. The pandemic magnified discrepancies between the "haves" and "have nots," with impact on both traditional and nontraditional students and institutions. Nontraditional educational opportunities—e.g., online education, part-time certification programs—emerged as supplemental tools for upskilling and reskilling new and returning students. How are educators leveling the playing field to equalize educational opportunities? What is the role of the private sector in upskilling its employee base to meet the needs of tomorrow's jobs? Is it time to reimagine fundamentally how the higher education system can better meet the nation's economic, social, and workplace needs?


Jeffrey Selingo
Contributor, The Atlantic; Author, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions


Maria Flynn
President and CEO, Jobs for the Future (JFF)

Daphne Kis
CEO, WorldQuant University

Maud Mandel
President and Professor of History, Williams College

Daniel Markovits
Guido Calabresi Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Author, The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite

Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Chancellor, California Community Colleges