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The Urgency of Increasing Higher Education Attainment in America

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As postsecondary skills have become essential to success for millions of Americans, few would argue that our nation has all of the talent it needs to prosper. New data reveal that our country risks falling behind in a global race — the competition for innovation and, above all else, talent — unless actions are taken now to significantly increase postsecondary attainment.

Projections by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce show that more than 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the end of this decade. And yet, according to Lumina Foundation‘s just-released annual Stronger Nation report on postsecondary attainment rates across America, only 40 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) now hold at least a two-year degree.

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WSJ: Education Does Reduce Inequality

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In recent months some of the leading economic minds in the country have declared that when it comes to explaining rising inequality, education doesn’t matter. Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary and former president of Harvard, said at the National Press Club in February that it’s an “evasion” to suggest education and training as a solution to inequality.

“The core problem is that there aren’t enough jobs,” Mr. Summers said. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won’t get…

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Tax Credits Don’t Necessarily Boost College Attendance, Research Finds

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The federal government spent $23 billion last year on tax credits to families paying for college. Despite the generous payout, the funds likely didn’t do much to boost college attendance, according to a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Higher-education tax credits, which have been around since 1997 and then were expanded significantly in 2009, don’t affect whether or where students enroll, or what other financial aid they receive, according to economists George B. Bulman ofUniversity of California, Santa Cruz, and Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford University.

One big reason the money doesn’t make much difference in whether someone decides to go to college, or what school they attend, is the timing of the credit. Tuition bills arrive an average of nine or 10 months before a family would receive any tax credit, so the upfront costs remain an obstacle to many families.

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