Fact Sheet: Focusing Higher Education on Student Success

Editor’s Note: State-by-state data follows in table below.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today laid out his vision for America’s higher education system of the future. Duncan noted that while more students are graduating college than ever before at our nation’s world-class colleges and universities, for far too many students, the nation’s higher education system isn’t delivering what they need and deserve. America’s students and families need, and the nation’s economic strength will depend on, a higher education system that helps all students succeed. That starts with making college more affordable but goes much further – to focus on whether students are actually graduating in a timely way with a meaningful degree that sets them up for future success.

Today, nearly half of all students who begin college do not graduate within six years, and the consequences of taking on debt but never receiving a meaningful degree can be severe. Students who borrow for college but never graduate are three times more likely to default. A stronger focus on outcomes for students means change for everyone – schools, students, states, accreditors, and the federal government.

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