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17 States Vow to Increase College-Completion Rates

Seventeen states have committed to raise their college-completion rates, as well as establish common measures of progress and publicly report their annual results toward the goal.

Those states, from Connecticut and West Virginia to Illinois, Nevada, and Hawaii, are "charter members" of a state alliance established under the new nonprofit, Complete College America, according to a statement the group issued yesterday.

"Once first in the world, America now ranks 10th in the proportion of young people with a college degree," says Stan Jones, the president of Complete College America, in the statement. "Complete College America is dedicated to working with states to implement systemic reforms, accomplish innovative approaches at scale, and remove needless obstacles that too often block the path to graduation day."

The organization was launched in 2009 with philanthropic support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

More detailed commitments that participating states are making include:
•Establishing annual state and campus-specific degree and credential-completion goals through 2020;
•Developing "action plans" at the state and campus level to meet the state's goals; and
•Using common metrics to measure and report progress, with the data disaggregated by level and type of degree, as well as age, race, and income level.

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