The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, in “Measuring Up 2008,” it’s most recent annual report on higher education, highlighted a concerning trend: Despite it’s relative influence and affluence, the United States is producing fewer college graduates than other developed nations.
The report found that the U.S. produces 18 college graduates out of every 100 students enrolled, in comparison to Australia, Japan, and Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom who produce 25-26 graduates per 100 enrollees. Among 25 to 34 year olds, the U.S. has slipped to 10th place in terms of the percentage of individuals who have an associates degree or higher, which raises concerns about who will replace the 78 million “baby boomers” scheduled to retire, and who are also the best educated generation the United States has historically seen.
The report also highlighted that “college completion has never been a U.S. strength,” and underscored the problem of traditionally low, and now lagging, graduation rates. The report also raised the concern that the United States could lose much of its economic competitiveness in the global economy because of this issue.