College completion is not only a moral imperative but also an issue threatening our national security and democracy.
- The U.S. has fallen from first to 16th among the 34 industrialized economies in the world when measuring the percentage of citizens having earned a college credential or degree.
- When comparing student math scores, the U.S. has fallen from first to 25th among the 34 industrialized world economies.
- Today more than three million livable wage jobs are unfilled in the United States because students are not entering the fields or obtaining the skills, instruction and credentials required for 21st century jobs.
- America’s pool of qualified workers is shrinking rapidly as an increasing percentage of the population retires – meaning fewer tax payers to pay for public education, infrastructure, social programs and national defense.
- High school dropout rates in some states exceed 40-50 percent. Dropouts will no longer qualify for minimum wage jobs. Those with jobs will be required to support an increasing number of Americans who will not qualify for or obtain a job.
- American universities awarded more doctorates than ever before in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The majority of these degrees were awarded to foreign students who return to their native countries and compete economically against the United States.
- A child born into poverty in the United States today likely will never emerge from poverty.
- More than 70 percent of community college students who transfer to a senior college with an associate degree successfully complete a baccalaureate degree. Those who transfer without the associate degree increase their likelihood of never earning a baccalaureate degree.
- Students with associate degrees lose fewer credits, if any, when transferring to senior colleges. In many states, it’s the law!
- Students who transfer to public senior colleges without an associate degree are often forced to take additional classes or repeat classes at the senior college at three times the cost of community college tuition.
A Job Requirement
- In less than five years, 65 percent of all new jobs will require a postsecondary credential.
- Students with community college credentials or degrees in hot job fields have significantly higher starting salaries than students with baccalaureate degrees.
- When unexpected life events happen requiring a student to abruptly enter the job market, more employers hire those with a college credential over those who do not possess a credential. Employers hire those who demonstrate the discipline and determination to finish what they start.
- Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, June 2010
- Rosenberg McKay, D. “How Often Do People Change Careers?” Guide to Career Planning since 1997 (2006)
- Internationally, College Graduates Fared Better During Recession, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2010
- The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, American Association of Community Colleges, The National Articulation and Transfer Network
- With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, A Public Agenda Report for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America
- American Association of Community Colleges, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future”
- Center for Community College Student Engagement
- U.S. Department of Labor