As Lehman College prepares to celebrate 50 years as a vital anchor institution in the Bronx, our college community has taken on a bold challenge—to double the number of high-quality degrees and certificates our students will earn by the year 2030.
It’s called 90x30. And it has the potential to transform thousands of lives in the borough we call home. Lehman already is on pace to grant 45,000 degrees and certificates by 2030; the challenge is to reach 90,000.
90x30 is a call to action to help boost educational attainment rates in the Bronx, which ranks next to last of all 62 counties in New York State. Only 27.7 percent of Bronx residents have an associate’s degree or higher.
Why is this important? Because increasing the number of residents with a postsecondary education leads to reduced unemployment, higher wages, increased civic and voter participation, and improved physical and mental health, while enhancing the social well-being and economic competitiveness of the communities in which educated citizens live.
As the college with the 4th highest mobility rate in the nation—Lehman already has propelled large numbers of students from the bottom 40 percent of the economic ladder to the top 40 percent. But there’s more work to do. It’s time to bring the promise of opportunity to even more Bronxites.
Let’s imagine for a moment what a better educated Bronx would look like.
We conducted a preliminary analysis—and the numbers are staggering.
- They would earn an additional $6 billion in income each year
- The region’s tax base would grow by $2.8 billion annually
- More than 57,000 would be lifted out of poverty
- About 43,000 would qualify for employer-provided health insurance
- Tens of thousands would no longer require Medicaid, supplemental nutrition or housing assistance
In order to meet the 90x30 challenge, Lehman will increase admissions for both traditional undergraduates and certificate-seeking adults, enhance student support services to increase completion rates and reduce time to degree, hire more faculty and staff to accommodate additional students, and invest in online technologies and physical facilities.
President José Luis Cruz has pledged $3 million from existing sources to jump-start 90x30. These funds will be used to better support faculty and staff, spur innovation in pedagogical modalities and student support services, and develop and deploy best-of-class data analytics tools. Revenue from increased enrollment and fundraising will be strategically directed to hire more faculty and staff and support 90x30 initiatives.
Simply put, the 90X30 goal is one important effort aimed at helping to ensure that each of our community members can reap the benefits of the modern Bronx Renaissance.