Increasing College Completion Rates

President Barack Obama is now encouraging adults to go back to college and receive the degrees they never finished, in hopes of America regaining the lead of producing college graduates, according to an article in The Washington Post.

            There are an estimated 37 million adults 25-64 who went to college but never graduated.

            The Lumina Foundation is leading a four-year $14.8 million project throughout America to encourage adults to receive their degrees. The Lumina Foundation will partner with other organizations in attempts to achieve this goal.

            Indianapolis nonprofit projects, which are partnering with the Lumina Foundation, will contact 6.6 million adults about how they can easily acquire their college degrees. The organization anticipates that 100,000 of these people will go back to college, earning 45,000 degrees.

            "It's really sort of morally objectionable to write off everyone over 30," said Jamie Merisotis, CEO of Lumina. 

            The largest amount of funding, $1.3 million, will go to the Institute of Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C. area, supporting the Win-Win project. Similar to the Indianapolis projects, Win-Win will identify and reach out to adults who could easily complete their college degrees.

            The Lumina Foundation will heavily target individuals who attended community colleges and could graduate without taking any more classes. These individuals would only need to fill out the necessary paper work. Also, there are many Americans who would only need a class or two to acquire a college degree.

            The efforts will give these people information on how to acquire their degrees, facilitating the process.

            "For some of them, life just gets in the way," Merisotis told The Washington Post.

            Merisotis said he believes that community colleges need to produce more college graduates. These colleges have degree and certificate rates in the single digits, far behind the number of graduates four-year programs produce.

            The Lumina Foundation and Obama have similar goals in education, hoping to achieve a 60 percent college completion rate by 2025 and regain college graduate lead by 2010. These goals will require strong efforts from politicians and education administrators across the nation.