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No Time to Waste: Policy Recommendations for Increasing College Completion

Abstract

"States need to place a major focus on increasing the numbers of students who complete college degrees and career certificates toward the goal of having 60 percent of working-age adults earning some type of high-quality credential by the year 2025. This major new report and set of recommendations from the Southern Regional Education Board challenges states to become national leaders in increasing college completion. The report includes 10 major policy recommendations for states to pursue including setting specific and ambitious goals for raising the numbers of each degree type and graduation rates at each institution, system and statewide; better measures of progress to show education attainment levels and how various groups of students are faring, including transfer and part-time students; more attention to college costs and targeted financial aid for the neediest students, high school students' readiness for college-level work, institutional practices that can help more students succeed, greater efficiency in institutions' and systems' operations, clearing an efficient path to degrees for students, bringing many more adults back to college who did not finish degrees and certificates, and more. SREB states have between 26 and 44 percent of adults ages 25 to 64 with a two- or four-year college degree. Data is incomplete on the percentage of adults who hold career/technical certificates, which is one of many issues states need to address. Many state and national leaders with varying views on higher education policy issues served on an SREB advisory panel that contributed to the report."

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