When state and federal lawmakers invest in public higher education, it pays off— not just for those college degree-earning students, who will earn much more money over their lifetimes, but also for their country, which will enjoy billions of dollars in additional revenues, concludes a recent report.
Unfortunately, the United States hasn’t made that investment, especially not in recent years as state budgets for public higher education are slashed and federal college affordability programs attacked, and now we are falling dangerously behind our global competitors, write the authors of “The Credential Differential,” a report released last month by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), an organization that seeks to improve the lives of low-income people.
“Right now the nation is losing ground and falling far behind,” warned Vickie Choitz, CLASP senior policy analyst. “Without more attention to and investment in increasing post-secondary credentials, the nation will leave billions of dollars on the revenue.”
In countries like Korea and Japan, more than half of young adults have college degrees, compared to 41 percent in the United States. And those leading countries are on track to increase their attainment rates to 60 percent by 2020. In order to stay in the race, CLASP analysts estimate that the United States would have to award an additional 24 million college degrees or credentials by 2025. (At the current rate, we’re on track to produce just about 300,000 more.)
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