Skip to main content

Underserved Potential

In Focus

Underserved Potential

The ideas, research, and actions from across Harvard University aimed at making education a pathway to success for everyone.

Progress report

Members of the Harvard community are taking a variety of approaches in the fight to make education more equitable.

Education gap: The root of inequality
Click to Play Video

From the experts

Why is an equitable education so important?

Harvard’s Ronald Ferguson, director of The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, says education may be the key to solving broader American inequality, but we have to solve educational inequality first.

A colorful illustration of a woman

Personal essay

Tauheedah Baker-Jones

“As educators, we are charged with creating engaged citizens who uphold our democratic and pluralistic ideals,” says the Ed School alum and Atlanta Public Schools Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer.

Read more on the Harvard Gazette

A woman smiling


Better college access for Native people

Only about 14% of Native American people attend college, and many often don’t graduate. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, currently the CEO of First Light Education, has spent decades trying to lower the many barriers facing Native young people as they try to access higher education.

Learn more from the Graduate School of Education



Here to learn

Shirley Vargas is harnessing the power of Nebraska’s state education agencies to create solutions that work for every student. “We have to make sure that what we’re doing is actually in the best interest of students,” said the School of Education alum.

Read the To Serve Better profile

Where we’re focused

These are just a few of the initiatives Harvard Schools have created to take on these important issues.

Learn more today

“If we hope to make progress toward addressing longstanding educational inequities, we have to invest our time and resources in those areas where we believe we can have outsized impact … including continued access to low-cost and free courses,” Larry Bacow, President of Harvard University.

See Harvard’s free online courses

Explore the series

An American flag made with plastic strips on a fence


“Unequal” is a multipart series highlighting the work of Harvard faculty, staff, students, alumni, and researchers on issues of race and inequality across the United States.

Read More
  • Upward Immobility

The ideas, research, and actions aimed at creating equitable opportunities for success and prosperity.

A map of boston with the segregated neighborhoods highlighted.
Read More
  • Environmental Exposure

Finding solutions to climate change, pollution, and environmental contamination for all communities.

A city with smog and chimneys
Read More
  • Democratic Deficits

Exploring the inequality in our democratic institutions and representative elections.

Some standing in a voting booth
Read More
  • Criminal Injustice

Creating a more equitable criminal justice system.

a line of police approaching people with their hands up
Read More