The American Council on Education, along with nearly 400 colleges and universities and with support from corporate partners, launched a national public outreach campaign March 14 to raise awareness about higher education’s role in the future of the country.

“Solutions for Our Future” is a multiyear effort to establish a dialogue with local communities and policy makers about the broad societal benefits of higher education. The campaign will use national television, radio and newspaper ads, an interactive web site and participation by member campuses to convey how America’s colleges and universities teach the people who solve problems and change the world.

The campaign has three primary goals: 1) increase awareness of the public benefits of higher education; 2) enable every campus to do its part in meeting the nation’s needs for higher education; and 3) make higher education a public policy priority.

“Solutions for Our Future” will center around four core messages:

  • Well-educated citizens are crucial to America’s ability to confront the challenges of the future.
  • Colleges and universities contribute to the economy, well-being and quality of life in the country.
  • The country must continue to expand college access and achievement to build the human capital necessary to succeed in the international knowledge economy.
  • America must sustain public investment in higher education to meet the needs of the future.

In a conversation with the campus on March 14, NAU President John Haeger noted that universities must stop asking what state and federal governments can do for higher education and ask instead what universities can do for the country.

“Universities are going on the offensive at national levels to make the case of higher education being critical for our country,” Haeger said.

“Our country continues to reap concrete benefits from public investments in higher education and in research made 40 and 50 years ago,” said ACE President David Ward. “We have an obligation to future generations to make similar investments today to ensure that colleges and universities continue to generate new ideas and new technologies and educate the people who will have the know-how and the insight to solve problems and improve the quality of our lives.”

Public service announcements on the campaign will begin airing March 16 on CBS and ESPN during coverage of the NCAA men’s and women’s Division 1 basketball championships.