PBS NewsHour Debuts 5-Part Series “Rethinking College” Today and All Week on Broadcast and Online

WASHINGTON, DC (SEPTEMBER 12, 2015) – Every night the week of September 12, 2016 (check local listings), the PBS NewsHour with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will broadcast the special 5-part series “Rethinking College.” NewsHour Correspondent and Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan traveled throughout the United States to profile five cutting edge programs designed to bring non-traditional students the higher education they need to compete in the global marketplace.

Coverage of “Rethinking College” will carry over to NewsHour online, with original stories from NewsHour and our partners at the Hechinger Report, American Public Media, and Inside Higher Ed.

A schedule for the series’ content on broadcast is below. PBS NewsHour’s “Rethinking College” is funded by the Lumina Foundation. Coverage of higher education is also supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Monday, September 12, 2016: The New Urban College Model: A profile of HBC president, Michael Sorrell

Paul Quinn College, a Historically Black College in Dallas, Texas, was struggling when President Michael Sorrell took it over. One of the first things Sorrell did was cancel the football team, which was costing $600,000 annually. He turned the playing field into a farm which has become a symbol of the remade college and it caters to the surrounding community that is a federally-recognized food desert. All students are placed at local businesses in their last two years as part of Sorrell’s New Urban Model that aims to deliver both a “rigorous liberal arts education and real world work experience.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016: Gone Missing: Latino Males on College Campuses

The largest and fastest growing minority group in the nation has the lowest educational attainment level. In 2014, 75 percent of Hispanics graduated high school but just 15 percent graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree. Project MALES addresses the financial and cultural barriers that keep many Latino males from earning degrees. NewsHour speaks with founder Victor Saenz, author of recent book, Ensuring the Success of Latino Males in Higher Education, and accompanies undergraduate mentors on visits to middle and high schools in Austin to counsel the Latino boys most likely to forgo post-secondary credentials.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016: Second Chance Pell Grants

The Second Chance Pell Pilot program restores federal Pell Grant money to prisoners – after it was taken away by Congress in 1994. Since that time, prison populations have soared and recidivism is cited as the number one reason. In this report, Sreenivasan interviewed inmates accessing college classes now, Congressional critics of the experiment, and Education Secretary King.

Thursday, September 15, 2016: Digital credentialing: beyond the “degree”

Recent surveys have shown a disconnect between the knowledge and skills that employers say they want in a potential hire, and what the skills and knowledge students leaving four years of college can show they’ve learned. As a result, students, parents, and employers are asking what is the value and return on investment of a Bachelor’s degree? Georgetown University is trying to bridge that gap with experimental courses that award digital badges to students who complete competencies that prove they have what it takes to be a “Catalyst.” Taking the concept even farther are those in the education space who think the shift to a skills economy means universities should unbundle the degree.

Friday, September 16, 2016: The Coding Alternative

Attendance in coding bootcamps has exploded. According to Course Report, the bootcamp market will grow by 2.4x this year, rising from 6,740 in 2014 to over 16,000 in 2015 with job placements at 90% and starting salaries as much as $70,000. But until recently the cost of coding bootcamps has been a deterrent for many non-traditional students who have neither the time to forgo current jobs or the money to pay the coding class tuition costs. Skills Fund, a private equity firm, now offers low interest loans similar to the cost of federally funded student loans. NewsHour followed a non-traditional student, who was in the workforce after graduating high school, but decided to take advantage of these new post-secondary opportunities to launch their coding career.

About the PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour is seen by over four million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets, and via podcast. PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with WNET in New York. Major funding for PBS NewsHour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF, Lincoln Financial Group, XQ Institute, with additional support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.