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>  News Releases >   2008 >   December

Dartmouth President James Wright helps College Board announce efforts to restore U.S. educational attainment by 2025 with 10-part agenda

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 12/10/08 • Media Contact: Sarah Gomez • (603) 646-3661 

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President James Wright participated in a press conference announcing the release of “Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future,” a report from the College Board’s Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education at a briefing on Wed., Dec. 10 at 9:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill.

As a member of the 28-person commission, Wright joined College Board President Gaston Caperton, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland William (Brit) Kirwawn, Vice Provost for Enrollment Policy and Management at the University of Southern California Jerome Lucido, Chicago Public Schools Manager of Secondary School Counselors Joyce Brown, and College Board Vice President Ron Williams to present the report and outline a specific 10-part agenda detailing what the United States must do to regain its global competitive edge.

"Despite the current economic situation, the College remains committed to its need-blind admissions policy to help students attend Dartmouth regardless of their financial means."

- President James Wright

President Wright said, “The data on school completion rates are alarming. However, the work of the commission proposes a comprehensive approach to place the United States on a different trajectory, ensuring the next generation of students remains well-educated and prepared to succeed in college and in the workforce.”

The report presents a national goal of ensuring that at least 55 percent of Americans hold a postsecondary credential by 2025 to match today’s leading nations. According to the College Board, working towards this goal and attaining it will enable the United States to re-establish itself among international leaders in postsecondary education attainment. The report documents that the United States, which led the world in high school completion rates throughout the 20th century, has lost its competitive edge and is now ranked 21st out of 27 among advanced economies.

Among 25-to-34-year-olds, the United States ranks 11th out of 32 nations in terms of postsecondary attainment, with Canada, Japan, Korea, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and France ahead of America. Further, dropout rates for high school students (grades nine through 12) have tripled in the last 30 years. To reverse this decline, the commission has developed a comprehensive approach outlining an agenda focused on the entire pre-kindergarten through college pipeline with annual evaluation metrics to track progress towards the 55 percent goal, as well as indicators tied to the 10 benchmarks.

The recommended actions presented by the commission focus on the education pipeline from beginning to end and require federal, state, local, and non-profit involvement to bolster the entire education system. The actions called for in the report include:

  • Provide a program of voluntary preschool education, universally available to children from low-income families;
  • Improve middle and high school college counseling;
  • Implement the best research-based dropout prevention programs;
  • Align the K-12 education system with international standards and college admissions expectations;
  • Improve teacher quality and focus on recruitment and retention;
  • Clarify and simplify the admission process;
  • Provide more need-based grant aid while simplifying and making financial aid processes more transparent;
  • Keep college affordable;
  • Dramatically increase college completion rates;
  • Provide postsecondary opportunities as an essential element of adult education programs.

Wright stated, “Dartmouth supports these goals by maintaining affordability and increasing access, providing excellent and affordable educational opportunities for qualified students. Despite the current economic situation, the College remains committed to its need-blind admissions policy to help students attend Dartmouth regardless of their financial means.”

He added, “Since the announcement of Dartmouth’s expanded financial aid package last year, the College continues to eliminate tuition for undergraduates from families with incomes below $75,000; replace loans with scholarships; extend need-blind admissions to international students; and create a leave term for students without earning expectations.”

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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