Lehman College, a vital anchor institution in the Bronx, has taken on a bold challenge—to award to our students 90,000 high-quality degrees and certificates by the year 2030.

In 2017, the Lehman College launched the 90x30 challenge, a bold initiative designed to increase educational attainment in the Bronx by awarding 90,000 or more degrees and credentials from the beginning of the initiative through 2030.

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.

As the college with the 3rd 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.

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.

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 retention and graduation rates through curricular and pedagogical innovation, focused recruiting efforts, enhanced student support services and ongoing enhancement of online technologies. Together these will increase completion rates and reduce time to degree.

The 90x30 challenge has been supported by funds that support faculty and staff, spur innovation in pedagogical modalities, enhance student support services, strengthen student recruitment, and develop and deploy best-of-class data analytics tools.

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.

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