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Charts: College Completion Rates Rising

image from annenberginstitute.orgMore than a third of the 25-29 year olds in the US now have a bachelor's degree, according to new data from Pew via NYT via AISR.

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But the big picture story here is that other countries have been improving faster than we have, and our largest increase has been in the number of students entering college, wanting to complete it, and yet being unable to do so. We would do well to follow the example of central European countries and establish a qualification system for college admissions and public funding. Under such a system, which I have called an American Baccalaureate, students satisfying minimum requirements (which would be substantially beyond those of our current high school diplomas) would qualify for automatic acceptance in any of their state's public universities, coupled with free funding for three-year bachelor's degrees (which voucher-like funding would be transferable to private universities to offset equivalent amounts of their tuitions, whenever certificate holders chose to enrol in private schools instead). Our secondary schools would have to provide for all of the general education needs of such students, who would then concentrate for three years on their major courses, leading to more highly developed specialized knowledge than our current college graduates are emerging with.

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