Obama needs 10 million graduates extra

Nieuws | de redactie
16 juli 2012 | Barack Obama wants America to take the lead in worldwide higher education attainment by 2020. Recent figures indicate that American colleges and universities have to produce an additional 10 million graduates to realize this goal. Tuition hikes and state budget cuts undermine this ambition.

When Barack Obama became U.S. President in 2008, he set the goalthat by 2020 America should be the country with the greatest shareof higher education graduates compared to total population.Worldwide, the U.S. ranks only on place 16 far behind South Koreawith its 63% of young adults having earned a college degree.

Long way to go

Recently published data by the Department of Education indicatesthat Obama has still a long way to go to realize his ambition.Between 2009 and 2010, degree attainment for 25-34 year oldsincreased slightly from 38.8% to 39.3%. To meet Obama’s goal, thecountry has to educate an additional 10 million students aged25-35, lifting the overall level to over 60%.

In a speech to the National Governors Association, EducationSecretary Arne Duncan commented that “the countries thatout-educate today will out-compete us tomorrow. The federalgovernment has done a tremendous amount to increase the amount ofaid available to students. But we need states and institutions tomeet us halfway by doing more to keep college costs down.”

Suffocating student debt

“Every capable, hard-working, and responsible student should beable to afford to go to college. That’s not a Democratic dream or aRepublican one. It’s the American Dream,” Duncan said. “We’ve madesome progress, but the combination of deep state budget cuts andrising tuition prices is pushing an affordable college educationout of reach for middle-class families.”

Alongside tuition fees, student loans are of a particularconcern in the American higher education sector. In 2010/2011student loan debt was totaling almost $920.000.000.000 surpassingcredit card debt for the first time.

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