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Getting to Graduation

, 344 pages

8 line drawings

August 2012



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Getting to Graduation

The Completion Agenda in Higher Education

The United States, long considered to have the best higher education in the world, now ranks eleventh in the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree. As other countries have made dramatic gains in degree attainment, the U.S. has improved more slowly. In response, President Obama recently laid out a national "completion agenda" with the goal of making the U.S. the best-educated nation in the world by the year 2020. Getting to Graduation explores the reforms that we must pursue to recover a position of international leadership in higher education as well as the obstacles to those reforms.

This new completion agenda puts increased pressure on institutions to promote student success and improve institutional productivity in a time of declining public revenue. In this volume, scholars of higher education and public policymakers describe promising directions for reform. They argue that it is essential to redefine postsecondary education and to consider a broader range of learning opportunities—beyond the research university and traditional bachelor degree programs—to include community colleges, occupational certificate programs, and apprenticeships. The authors also emphasize the need to rethink policies governing financial aid, remediation, and institutional funding to promote degree completion.

Andrew P. Kelly is a research fellow in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy. Mark Schneider is vice president of the American Institutes for Research and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy.

"A solid body of work on an important topic that is not getting the kind of analytical attention it deserves."

" Getting to Graduation is a must for educational studies collections or public policy discussion, enthusiastically recommended."

"A volume replete with nuanced perspectives on the opportunities and challenges higher education faces in the U.S... The book does an excellent job of covering a number of critical issues that bear on policies at the institutional, state, and federal levels."

"The book provides a useful synthesis of policy, practice and perhaps, most importantly, standards for rigorous research to assess the viability and prospective mechanisms for achieving ambitious policy goals."

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