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Increase College Completion

More than 40 million people now receive food stamps, an increase of nearly 50 percent since 2007, and economists predict that 1 in 4 children will be living in poverty in the near future. The brunt of this economic devastation is being borne by workers with the least education. They have suffered the greatest and most persistent job losses, plunging formerly working, self-sufficient families into poverty. Post-secondary education and training has kept more people competitive in this most recent recession. Research shows that individuals and society alike benefit from college completion. College graduates get better jobs, earn better wages, have a better quality of life and become more active citizens. As jobs change to require more education and as states transition to knowledge-based economies, this becomes a critical issue both for individuals and for the nation as a whole as we seek to maintain our competitiveness worldwide.

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The Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study (WSLS) is the first statewide longitudinal study of the impact of private need-based financial aid on college persistence and graduation. Early indications are that additional aid to Pell-eligible students improves progress rates.

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The Developmental Education Initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education includes 15 colleges and six states working towards increasing the number of students who progress to college level courses.

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A discussion with education leaders on efforts to improve college completion.