US: Obama unveils ambitious community college plan

Last week US President Barack Obama unveiled a multibillion-dollar proposal to boost enrolment in community colleges. His plan seeks to graduate five million more Americans from two-year colleges by 2020, and follows a more sweeping goal announced during his first address to Congress in February - for America to once again have the highest number of college graduates in the world by 2020 - writes Joseph E Aoun in The Boston Globe.

While some will question whether these prospective students are ready for college, many of us in higher education are asking: are we ready? In the months following the president's congressional speech, there has been spirited debate in the education community about whether or not the goal is attainable. A member of a federal commission on higher education called it "sheer fantasy". Others have said the deadline should be pushed from 2020 to 2025.

To meet a similar goal outlined by the non-profit education group the Lumina Foundation - to raise the percentage of college graduates from 39% to 60% by 2025 - an additional 16 million Americans will have to earn two-year or four-year college degrees over the next 10 to 15 years, depending on the end-date. The total number of students who currently attend the nation's 4,300 colleges and universities is 19 million.
Full report on The Boston Globe site