US: Obama's 2020 target attainable, says Merisotis

President Obama's $12 billion plan to restore graduation rates in the US to the top of the international league table is attainable, the president of the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation said.

"Our plan advocates and attempts to foster innovation in a number of areas - from progressive pre-college savings programmes for low-income families to lower-cost delivery systems, to better alignment between the various sectors of higher education. It will never be free to properly educate and prepare our citizens, but there is no wiser investment, and we believe that the cost should be borne fairly by all who benefit: students, the government, employers, and institutions themselves."

Merisotis is firm that the expansion can be achieved without threatening the quality of US higher education.

"Our goal very explicitly states that we want 60% of Americans to have 'high-quality degrees and credentials', and we have initially defined those as degrees and credentials that have 'well-defined and transparent learning outcomes which provide clear pathways to future education and employment'.

"We have just begun the work of defining, fleshing out and reaching consensus on the learning outcomes we should seek and we are absolutely committed to maintaining - even improving - the quality of American degrees and credentials."

And he is convinced that the expansion will take place without jeopardising the US' reputation overseas as a destination for quality higher education.

"Our nation must address the urgent problem of increasing the attainment level of our own population while ensuring that educational quality is maintained. Any issues regarding the reputation of higher education in the US will sort themselves out as we deliver on our goal."


Read the interview in full here