Monday, March 28, 2011

Incentives Offered to Raise College Graduation Rates

In what amounts to a “Race to the Top” for higher education, the Obama administration is offering competitive grants and a new “tool kit” to help states increase their college completion rates.

During a news briefing Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the program, to be formally announced Tuesday by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would include only incentives — no “sticks” — for reforms aimed at helping the administration meet its goal of adding eight million college graduates by 2020.

According to Mr. Duncan, the campaign will include a new $20 million Comprehensive Grant Program 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 programs that hold down tuition, increase completion rates and move students through college faster. Last, the $50 million College Completion Incentive Grants would reward states and schools for reforms that produce more college graduates.

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