Faced with a graduate shortage, Minnesota incentivizes college enrollment
- Minnesota's Office of Higher Education shows that while over 80% of high school graduates are going to college, only 61% of the state's adults aged 25-44 actually have a college degree of any level, reports the Stillwater Gazette. Further data from the office points to significant racial gaps in completion as well.
- To combat the disparities, many of the state's public and private colleges and universities have waived application fees for part of or all of a year in an effort to encourage more students — particularly those from low-income backgrounds — to apply.
- Realizing that the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans are unaware of the state's education reform policies, according to a new poll, the state legislature has committed to educating citizens about the state's attainment goals and raising the amount to young adults with a degree to 70%.
College completion and enrollment are among the top concerns of higher education leaders. In fact, a new survey from Inside Higher Ed and Gallup shows that only 34% of institutions met new student enrollment goals this year. But for states dealing with low numbers of adults with college degrees necessary to excel in the workforce, figuring out ways to entice more students to apply — particularly with declining interest in the traditional two-to-four year degree, is only part of the solution.
Collaboration between policymakers and educators is absolutely critical to ensuring more students go to college and stay there, because while institutions can take positive steps by making things like applications free and more accessible to low-income students, only policymakers can create the types of aid and legal supports that can keep students enrolled. And, Minnesota's approach toward addressing low statistics in the numbers of adults with a degree may become a model for others states that are considering how to collaborate with institutions.
- Stillwater Gazette Column: Minnesota’s college completion problem, a chance to save money
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