Foundations, States Working to Significantly Increase College Completion

Foundations, States Working to Significantly Increase College Completion

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced that seventeen states have pledged to dramatically increase the number of young adults with a college degree or credential.

In addition to the states' commitment, Carnegie, the Lumina Foundation for Education, and the Ford, Bill & Melinda Gates, and W.K. Kellogg foundations have pledged to commit a total of $12 million over five years to Complete College America. Established in 2009, the Washington, D.C.-based organization is working to help states implement a range of strategies designed to bring needed change to and improve college completion efforts nationwide.

By joining the Complete College America Alliance of States, participating states will agree to set degree goals, develop and implement action plans to meet those goals, and collect and report student outcome data on progression toward the goals. To help achieve those goals, states will receive in-depth technical support from leading experts on improving college success, including assistance in building consensus for reform, developing policy action plans, guidance on applying for and effectively using federal funding to produce more degrees, and annual networking opportunities.

For decades, the rate at which Americans complete postsecondary degrees has fallen short of the nation's needs and potential. Fewer than 40 percent of young adults today hold an associate or bachelor's degree, and substantial racial and income gaps persist. According to labor market projections, by 2020 six of ten jobs will require a quality postsecondary degree or credential.

"Knowledge transcends borders, as does creativity and the ability to think deeply and analytically about issues that affect all humankind," said Carnegie Corporation of New York president Vartan Gregorian. "In an increasingly globalized world, a high-quality education that leads to a college degree is the key to developing these skills. Hence, we must not only increase college completion rates, but we must ensure that a college degree stands for quality. Let us remind people that democracy and excellence are not mutually exclusive. Our hopes for preserving a vibrant democracy and the promise of social mobility that lie at the heart of the American dream depend on more students earning their college degrees."

For a complete list of the states participating in the alliance, visit the Complete College America Web site.

"17 States Pledge to Significantly Increase College Completion by 2020." Carnegie Corporation of New York Press Release 03/02/2010.