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February 26, 2009 

Meeting President Obama's Higher Education Goal: New Report Provides 50-State Roadmap to Increasing College Attainment 

Indianapolis—Lumina Foundation for Education today unveiled a new report, A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education, which includes a detailed explanation of Lumina's 'big goal' to significantly increase higher education attainment. The report also includes a state-by-state—and county-by-county—analysis of college attainment statistics that serve as a call to action for policymakers to make higher education more accessible and attainable for all Americans.

Lumina's big goal is to have 60 percent of Americans hold high-quality, two- or four-year college degrees and credentials by 2025. To reach that goal, we have to produce 16 million more graduates than we will at current rates. The report's state-by-state analysis examines Census data from 2000. It also identifies prescriptions for reaching the goal that include improving college access information, improving college affordability, enhancing institutional productivity and learning outcomes and improving data systems.

"Higher education needs to be a driving force in turning our economy in the right direction," stated Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina. "We know now, from President Obama's strong comments in his speech to Congress this week, that our nation's attention is focused on higher education's potential to help solve this crisis. To reach the highest proportion of college graduates in the world that President Obama called for, Lumina's 60 percent goal must be the benchmark we strive to achieve."

"Lumina recognized over a year ago that if we were to attain the big goal, we needed to have a careful analysis of this state data," added Dewayne Matthews, Lumina's vice president of policy and strategy. "This detailed report can help policymakers identify the biggest gaps in degree attainment by geographic area. They can examine this data as they analyze, address and develop key strategies for those regions," he continued.

For more information on the 'big goal' and to hear a discussion about this report, please listen to a podcast conversation between Merisotis and Matthews.

Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. Through grants for research, innovation, communication and evaluation, as well as policy education and leadership development, Lumina Foundation addresses issues that affect access and educational attainment among all students, particularly underserved student groups such as minorities, first-generation college-goers, students from low-income families and working adults. The Foundation bases its mission on the belief that postsecondary education remains one of the most beneficial investments that individuals can make in themselves and that a society can make in its people.

For more information, contact Dianna L. Boyce, Communication Associate, at 317.951.5116.



See Michigan information starting on page 60