The Obama administration has made one of its education goals to get more than 11 million more people through college so that the United States can “again lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.”

Getting this to happen, however, isn’t really be about high school students, which observers tend to see as the future of college. According to an article by Alan Tripp in the Washington Post:

Roughly 40 percent of America’s college students are non-traditional students. They are workers who’ve gone back to school, former members of the military embarking on new careers and single parents wanting to do better for their families. They could also be one of the most important game-changers in the ongoing national discussion on college completion and the continuing dialogue at College Inc. about how to fix higher education.

It’s these students, those who are independent from their parents, who often have children and jobs, who may actually be responsible for moving the numbers on college completion.

They’re also the students most likely to drop out of college.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer