Idaho Pledges to Significantly Increase College Completion by 2020; Joins National Alliance Focused on Raising Degree Attainment

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DATELINE –Signifying its intent to take the bold action necessary to increase college completion rates, Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho State Board of Education have joined with Complete College America, a national nonprofit organization working to dramatically increase the number of young adults with a college degree or credential, to set degree goals and develop and implement aggressive state and campus-level action plans to meet those goals.

Unchanged for decades, the rate at which Americans complete postsecondary degrees falls woefully short of the country’s needs and potential. Currently, Idaho is in the bottom 10 of all states in degree completion, and Idaho is committed to changing this trend.

“Whether it’s programmers, researchers, lab techs or heavy equipment operators, our Idaho employers and prospective employers are looking for highly qualified, highly motivated employees who have the skills and flexibility to learn in a fast-moving market,” said Governor Otter. “While college will never be everyone’s choice, there are postsecondary educational opportunities available that apply to far more Idahoans than are now taking advantage of them. These tough economic times are exactly the right time to hone your skills, finish your degree and invest in your future, and the future of Idaho. It all starts with education.”

Idaho, along with 16 other states, form the Complete College Alliance of States, a select group of leading states committed to significantly increasing the number of students successfully completing college and closing attainment gaps for traditionally underserved populations. States currently in the Alliance are:

Connecticut Hawaii Illinois Indiana Maryland Massachusetts Nevada Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Utah Vermont West Virginia

“Less than forty percent of young adults hold an Associate Degree or higher,” said Stan Jones, President of Complete College America. “The numbers for most states are even worse. For states and America to be competitive, six of ten adults between the ages of 25 and 35 will need to hold a postsecondary degree or credential of value in the labor market by 2020. That’s why the commitment to students and the higher education institutions that serve them made by Governor Otter and the Idaho State Board of Education is so important to Idaho’s long-term economic and social well-being.”

Established in 2009, Complete College America will provide Idaho with tangible and practical support to help implement a range of strategies that will bring needed changes in the culture and practices of its public postsecondary institutions. To join the Alliance a state – in partnership with its colleges and universities – must pledge to make college completion a top priority and commit to:

  • Setting state and campus-specific degree and credential completion goals
  • Developing and implementing aggressive state and campus-level action plans for meeting the state’s completion goals
  • Collecting and reporting common measures of progress toward the state’s completion goals

Alliance states will receive in-depth technical support from America’s leading experts on improving college success, including assistance in building consensus for reform, developing policy action plans, guidance on applying for and effectively using federal funding to produce more degrees, and annual networking opportunities.

Governor Otter, the Idaho State Board of Education, and each of the Presidents at the public postsecondary institutions are committed to increasing Idaho’s degree completion rates.

Five national foundations are providing multi-year support to Complete College America, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation for Education. “The long-term economic growth of any state is tied to the educational attainment of its citizens,” said Jones. “Reform-minded states like Idaho are taking the lead in addressing this serious national issue head on. The implications of ‘business as usual’ are too great not to act. That’s why the leadership taken by Governor Otter and the Idaho State Board of Education will have such a profound impact in Idaho and beyond.”

For Information on the Complete College America Alliance, contact:
Tom Sugar
Senior Vice President
Complete College America

For Information on Idaho’s participation, contact:
Mark Browning
Chief Communications Officer
Idaho State Board of Education

Chief Communications and Legislative Affairs Officer

Blake Youde Email

Administrative Assistant

Allison Duman Email



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