College completion remains one of higher education's biggest challenges--and one that must be solved

Arne Duncan: College completion–not simply access–critical to nation’s future

College completion remains one of higher education's biggest challenges--and one that must be solved

Making higher education the norm for everyone in the nation—and ensuring that people have not just access to higher education, but also the support to complete that education—is paramount to the nation’s future success, said Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Duncan, who is a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, sat down during an EDUCAUSE 2022 session and discussed some of the biggest challenges higher education is facing—and college access and completion dominated the conversation.

Questions came from Michael Berman, retired CIO, California State University, Office of the Registrar; Brian Baute, industry principal for education with RingCentral; and Jessie Minton, vice chancellor for technology and CIO of Washington University in St. Louis.

“We’ve seen tremendous innovation and adaptation over the past couple of years. How do we [create] the chance to not just go to college, but graduate, for folks across the country the norm?” Duncan said. “The truth is that less than half the nation has a college degree. If we’re going to close the gap between the haves and have-nots, the challenge for all of us is how we start to education exponentially more young people. It’s not about access, but completion.”

Education is traditionally slow to change, often trying to do more in the same manner. Instead of transformation, it’s incremental progress. So how can higher ed move the needle forward? Part of the answer is found in new learning modalities and extending learning opportunities to students who don’t have the luxury of moving to a school and living there while they earn a degree.

Why self-discovery increases college and career success
No, it’s not “the end of going to college”

Laura Ascione

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at


We’re Celebrating 25 Years with 25 Giveaways!

Enter Each Day to Win the Daily Gift Card Giveaway

and the Grand Prize drawing for an

Apple iPad!

Visit eSchool News each day through April 1, 2023 to enter the daily $25 Gift Card drawing.
Each daily entry counts as one entry for the grand prize drawing. See details and rules.
Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and Canada who are employed full- or part-time in K-12 education.