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Public Agenda Announces Partnership with The Kresge Foundation to Light the Path Toward Economic Mobility for Low Income Students

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Public Agenda Announces Partnership with The Kresge Foundation to Light the Path Toward Economic Mobility for Low Income Students

September 19, 2023 Public Agenda, a non-profit research-to-action organization dedicated to creating a democracy that works for everyone, announced today that they received $375,000 in funding from The Kresge Foundation to begin an in-depth case study initiative of colleges and universities providing the greatest economic mobility for low-income students.

“Increased costs, a higher reliance on loans, and stagnating wages have created an environment in which a college degree, once a mainstay of economic mobility, has become increasingly seen as a risky gamble,” said Andrew J. Seligsohn, PhD, President of Public Agenda. “By showing how exemplary colleges and universities are alleviating this risk and providing real economic empowerment for students, we can better realize the promise of prosperity at the heart of the American Dream.”

The initiative seeks to go deeper into the policies and practices of colleges and universities pushing to the top of the Economic Mobility Index. Beginning with case studies of public four-year institutions, the effort will examine factors contributing to access, affordability, and earnings post graduation. Public Agenda will translate findings into actionable resources for institutions seeking to provide greater economic benefit for low-income students. 

“One of the key functions of any college is to make its graduates more economically mobile. We support Public Agenda’s effort to elevate exemplars that offer a quality education and deliver on higher education’s fundamental mission,” says Caroline Altman Smith, Deputy Director of Kresge’s Education Program.

Public Agenda will share additional key information, including findings and other resources, as the project continues. For the most up-to-date information, please visit


Questions or requests can be directed to Public Agenda’s Press Office [email protected]

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About Public Agenda

Public Agenda is a national research-to-action organization that digs deep into the key challenges facing our democracy to uncover insights and solutions. Founded in 1975 by the social scientist and public opinion research pioneer Dan Yankelovich and former secretary of state Cyrus Vance, we engage with advocates, journalists, policymakers, and the philanthropic community to ensure public voice is heard in conversations that shape our shared future.

About the Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development, nationally and in Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans. In collaboration with our partners, we help create pathways for people with low incomes to improve their life circumstances and join the economic mainstream. The Education Program works to increase college access and success while reducing inequitable student outcomes in the U.S. and South Africa.

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