April 1, 2011

Administration Focuses on Strategies to Increase College Graduation Rates

By Brianna C. Fields

In late March, America’s Promise Alliance–founded by former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, held a three day ”Building a Grad Nation” summit in Washington, DC. The purpose was to inspire a movement to reach a goal of a 90 percent national college graduation rate by 2020 and place the US in the lead for the highest proportion of college graduates. To reach the President’s 2020 goal, the US must increase the number of college graduates by 50% and turn out at least eight million additional graduates by the end of the decade.

Vice President Biden spoke at the event, saying, “Today, we’ve got an education system that works like a funnel–when we need it to work like a pipeline…the skills of our college graduates will pave the way to a bright economic future for our nation.”  Education Secretary Duncan added, “America once led the world in the number of college graduates it produces, and now we’ve fallen to ninth…the best jobs and fastest-growing firms, whether in biosciences, technology, manufacturing, trade, or entertainment, will gravitate to countries, states, and communities with a highly qualified workforce. In order for the United States to lead the world, every governor will have to lead the way home.”

The Administration also released a college completion toolkit, which identifies seven no-cost or low-cost strategies, 15 related action steps, and a series of existing federal resource streams from which to draw.

The toolkit can be found here.

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