College Graduates on the Decline in U.S.

Did you ever think the United States would loose its edge? The number of students who graduate from college annually in the U.S. is on a steady decline. This drop in numbers is putting our nation far behind many other countries in the percentage of students who graduate from college. This decline could possibly cause the United States to loose its competitive edge in a global economy.

As the Baby Boom generation ages and retires, a well-educated corps of young people isn't stepping up to take their place, and the United States is slipping behind other countries that are producing a better educated young workforce, says "Measuring Up 2006," a national "report card" on higher education released by the nonpartisan National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

About 35 percent of the nation's 18 to 24 year olds attend college, placing the U.S. fourth internationally and earning a B in participation, the report said. Yet only 17 out of every 100 college students ultimately receive a degree or certificate, placing the U.S. behind at least 14 other countries, including Japan (the international leader), Portugal, Ireland, and Iceland.

Enrollment in most colleges remains strong, but the number of students who actually complete their degrees is declining. Many blame the high cost of attending college as a major factor. Student aid programs have also failed to keep up with the escalating cost of attending " and staying in college.

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