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ERIC Number: ED512538
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 116
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Stronger Nation through Higher Education: How and Why Americans Must Meet a "Big Goal" for College Attainment
Matthews, Dewayne
Lumina Foundation for Education
For the past two years, Lumina Foundation for Education has been calling for the United States to increase higher education attainment rates--the proportion of the population that holds a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential--to 60 percent by the year 2025. This call--Lumina's Big Goal--has been taken up by many others. In February 2009, Lumina issued its first "Stronger Nation" report on higher education attainment in the U.S. and in individual states. Since then, the national conversation about higher education has shifted dramatically as a result of a new focus on attainment. Factors that influence attainment--most notably, the need to improve completion rates in higher education--are receiving much more attention at the federal, state and institutional levels. This year, there were several proposals advanced through the federal budget process to increase completion and attainment. In spite of the current state budget crisis, several states have enacted attainment-focused policies this year, including performance funding plans--proposals that tie funding allocations directly to completion rates. There's a growing realization that the higher education system must increase its capacity to serve more students, and that improving higher education productivity is essential to accomplishing this. Of perhaps the most long-term importance, there is new attention to the need to assure the quality of postsecondary degrees and credentials. This need can only be met if individuals better define the learning outcomes that students must obtain at each level of education and then ensure that academic programs give students the opportunity to achieve those outcomes. This new version of "A Stronger Nation", which the Lumina intends to update annually, is the first to report progress toward the Big Goal as well as the gap between current performance and the need. This report also refines the methodology used to calculate higher education attainment, particularly at the state and county levels. The report includes individual profiles for all 50 states. Each profile shows the current level of attainment, the rate of improvement in attainment over the past eight years, and the level of increase needed to reach "Goal 2025," 60 percent attainment by that year. This report also assesses our deepening understanding of the factors driving the need to increase attainment, as well as some of the implications of the Big Goal for colleges and universities, higher education systems, and state and federal policy.
Lumina Foundation for Education. P.O. Box 1806, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1806. Tel: 800-834-5756; Fax: 317-951-5063; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Lumina Foundation for Education
Identifiers - Location: United States