Once a leader, U.S. lags in college degrees

Adding to a drumbeat of concern about the nation’s dismal college-completion rates, the College Board warned July 22 that the growing gap between the United States and other countries threatens to undermine American economic competitiveness, reports the New York Times. The United States used to lead the world in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees. Now it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. “The growing education deficit is no less a threat to our nation’s long-term well-being than the current fiscal crisis,” Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, warned at a meeting on Capitol Hill of education leaders and policy makers, where he released a report detailing the problem and recommending how to fix it. “To improve our college completion rates, we must think ‘P-16’ and improve education from preschool through higher education.” William Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, who hosted the Washington discussion along with Caperton, said the United States has fallen behind other countries over several decades. Canada now leads the world in educational attainment, with about 56 percent of its young adults having earned at least associate’s degrees in 2007, compared with only 40 percent of those in the United States…

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