US: Incentives to raise college graduation rates

In what amounts to a 'race to the top' for higher education, the Barack Obama administration is offering competitive grants and a new 'tool kit' to help states increase their college completion rates, writes Tamar Lewin for the New York Times.

During a news briefing, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the programme would include a new $20 million Comprehensive Grant Programme for states that carry out plans intended to increase their graduation rates. In addition, as part of its 2012 budget, the administration has proposed the $123 million 'First in the World' initiative for programmes that hold down tuition, increase completion rates and move students through college faster. Last, $50 million in College Completion Incentive Grants would reward states and schools for reforms that produce more college graduates.

Although three-quarters of young adults in the US pursue some form of post-secondary education, fewer than half earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrolling.
Full report on the New York Times site