Everyone’s Talking Higher Ed

I’m not saying that I’m ahead of the curve. I’m just saying that other people are also talking about the things that I’m bringing up as major issues for our economy. And by other people, I mean the President of the United States:

Today, a higher education is not just a pathway to opportunity – it is a prerequisite. Over the next decade, nearly eight in ten new job openings in the U.S. will require some workforce training or postsecondary education. And of the thirty fastest growing occupations in America, half require at least a 4-year college degree. Rising levels of education are critical to creating shared economic growth.

Interestingly enough, the President’s plan explicitly talks about increasing capacity. He sets a target of an additional 11 million graduates by 2020.  However, “[g]iven the current rate of college completion and projected population growth, it is estimated that approximately 3 million more young people will graduate from college over the next ten years, leaving a gap of 8 million students that are needed to reach the President’s 2020 goal.”

How are we going to get there?  There are definitely people who hope that the federal government will step in with funds for daily operations. But with already bulging federal budgets, that seems unlikely…and neither does increased state government support, at least in the next 5-10 years. It’s going to take some innovative thinking to address these issues in both the short and long term. Hopefully, we can make some progress starting this upcoming legislative session.

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