What Limits College Success? A review and further analysis of Holzer and Baum’s ‘Making College Work’

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Annenberg Institute at Brown University


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. This book’s 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. The author critiques the book’s proposed solutions using some of his 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. The author argues 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.



education, higher--government policy, human capital, academic achievement gap, student financial aid