Some 17 U.S. states have come together in an effort to increase college graduation rates. According to an Associated Press article in the New York Times:
Led by Stan Jones, Indiana’s former commissioner for higher education, the nonprofit group, Complete College America, has raised $12 million in startup money from several nonprofit groups. Mr. Jones said the group hoped to ensure that 60 percent of adults between 25 and 35 hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree by 2020.
Complete College America was officially launched yesterday, on March 2, 2010, “as a new organization dedicated to helping states implement the bold reforms necessary to bring about dramatic increases in the numbers of young adults with college degrees and other credentials of value.” Currently about 38 percent of adults between 25 and 35 have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The organization is supported with generous grants from several American foundations.
Merely joining an alliance of states, however, does not ensure that states will actually take actions that will result in an increase in college completion. According to Complete College America, the 17 states in the alliance have committed to three things:
Setting state and campus-specific degree and credential completion goals;
Developing and implementing aggressive state and campus-level action plans for meeting the state’s completion goals; and
Collecting and publicly reporting common measures of progress toward completion goals and closing attainment gaps.
Considering that most students who drop out of college do so because college simply because college costs too much, “aggressive state and campus-level action plans,” might not be the most effective way to improve college completion rates.
The states in the Complete College America alliance are Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and, rather oddly, Nevada.