Biden calls for improved graduation rates

By Olivia Garber

Vice President Joe Biden announced yesterday a plan that would help the U.S. produce the largest… Vice President Joe Biden announced yesterday a plan that would help the U.S. produce the largest number of college graduates in the world — in proportion to its population — by the next decade.

A White House news release said the plan would rely on state governors to host summits that focus on college completion. Biden, who spoke at an education summit yesterday, also released a college completion tool kit and news of a new grant competition. Theoretically, both would increase the United States’ global ranking in college graduation rates.

For Biden to vault the U.S. to No. 1 by 2020 — it currently sits in ninth place — the United States would have to increase college graduation by 50 percent, or an additional 8 million college graduates throughout the next decade. Korea currently leads the world.

“America once led the world in the number of college graduates it produces, and now we’ve fallen to ninth,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who opened the summit on Monday evening. “While our educational advancement stalled, other countries have passed us by. We need to educate our way to a better economy, and governors must help lead the way.

Part of the help the federal government will give to the states is a toolkit designed to aid governors boost graduation rates. The kit includes a number of strategies that address cost and implementation, as well as tips on how states can use federal resources.

Some of the plans will align high school exit and college placement standards, dole out funding based on colleges’ success at boosting completion rates and ease the process of transferring between colleges.

“Right now we’ve got an education system that works like a funnel when we need it to work like a pipeline,” Biden said. “We have to make the same commitment to getting folks across the graduation stage that we did to getting them into the registrar’s office. The dreams and skills of our college graduates will pave the way to a bright economic future for our nation.”