What Limits College Success? A Review and Further Analysis of Holzer and Baum's Making College Work
- Journal of Economic Literature (Forthcoming)
Holzer and Baum’s recent book, Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students, provides an excellent up-to-date review of higher education. My review first summarizes its key themes: (1) who gains from college and why, (2) mismatch and the need for more structure, (3) problems with remediation, (4) financial barriers, and (5) the promise of comprehensive support. I then critique the book’s proposed solutions using some of my own qualitative and quantitative data. Some recommendations are worth considering, while others are too expensive or unlikely to make a meaningful difference without addressing the underlying lack of preparedness and motivation of college students. I argue that making mandatory some existing services, such as application assistance and advice, proactive tutoring and advising, and greater career transition support, has the most immediate potential.
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