College Graduation Rates and Workforce Development in Serious Jeopardy, Study Finds

June 21, 2010

For Immediate Release: 6/17/10

College Graduation Rates and Workforce Development in Serious Jeopardy, Study
A study conducted at Georgetown University reveals massive
shortcomings in American college graduation rates.

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Georgetown University Center on Education
and the Workforce released a dire report on the future of American college
graduation rates and workforce needs.  The study found that by 2018, the
economy will have jobs for 22 million new college-educated workers; however,
based on current projections, there will be a shortfall of three million
postsecondary-educated workers and 4.7 million postsecondary-certified workers.
 “The U.S. is on a collision course with the future,” concluded the
report’s authors.

If current graduation rates continue, there will be a deficit of 300,000
college graduates a year based on the workforce capacity of 2018.  To meet
this capacity, American colleges and universities need to increase the number
of degrees they confer by 10 percent annually.  

“The threat of continued divestment from higher education presents one
of the greatest social and economic challenges to our generation,” said United
States Student Association President Gregory Cendana. “Young people must
mobilize to advocate for local, state, and federal policies that invest in
college education and workforce development.”

During his first State of the Union Address, President Obama ambitiously
announced his administration’s goal to have the United State lead the world in
college graduation rates by 2020.  The Georgetown study found that for
this to happen, American colleges and universities need to graduate 8.2 million
students, a task that would require an estimated increase of $158 billion in
higher education spending over the next decade.  Instead of making these
investments, however, a recent report from the National Governors Association
and National Association of State Budget Officers found that in fiscal year
2010, 36 states cut higher education funding with 31 states planning to impose
additional cuts in fiscal year 2011.  

USSA, representing 4.5 million students nationwide, will continue
advocating for state and federal investment in higher education, as such
policies are necessary for the future well being of the U.S. economy and

Download the Georgetown study
Download the NGA report