AMERICANS ARE CREATING a remarkable future. We're transforming how we work, how we communicate, how we learn. And we're upgrading what we need to know to succeed. Each year the job market requires new skills and our fast-paced society demands higher levels of personal and civic competency. If we hope to participate fully in this future, if our children are to aspire to a decent standard of living, then more of us — and more of our children — will need education and training after high school.

Some people might think that opening the doors to college, making the price more affordable, and otherwise improving the performance of higher education are walls too high to climb. But I believe that nothing is more important to the growth of our democratic ideals and institutions. Most of us are where we are today because the generations before us increased access to American colleges and universities. Like our parents and grandparents, we must reaffirm our commitment to opportunity — the opportunity for all Americans to go as far as their hard work and talents will take them.

This is the goal that energizes and guides the work of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Along with my colleagues on the board and the staff of the National Center, I hope you will participate in this effort — because the future of our colleges and universities is everybody's business.

James B. Hunt Jr.
Governor of North Carolina
Chair, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education