Ariadne Press - A California Publishing House Devoted to Austrian Literature

Between Past Glories and Future Necessities - US Higher Education at the Crossroads

bridges vol. 28, December 2010 / OpEds & Commentaries

By Ana Starkel

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"We will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new
goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

(US President Barack Obama, 2009)

What has happened to the higher education system in the United States, that President Obama needed to formulate this goal on February 24, 2009? Little more than a generation ago, the United States had a higher education system that was largely envied and was ranked at the very top of college degree attainment worldwide. Today, the United States ranks ninth among young adults (25- to 34-year-olds) holding college degrees. While it took as little as one generation to flip the coin, the United States has fallen behind and the president now envisions a decade dedicated to making past glories and future necessities reality again.

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