Bemidji State signs on to “Project Degree Completion”

Bemidji State University is one of nearly 500 public colleges and universities that were today announced as signatories for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) “Project Degree Completion” initiative. The initiative launches an historic effort by the group, which is committed increasing the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded in the United States by 3.8 million over the next 13 years.

By 2025, the coalition hopes to grow the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded in the United States from 1.044 million, the number awarded in 2011, to nearly 1.6 million.

The commitment also pledges to reduce time to degree, enhance academic quality and contain per-student educational costs.

“Project Degree Completion speaks directly to the most-immediate challenges facing higher education today – increasing the quality of education delivered to our students, reducing the time it takes for students to earn their degrees, and containing the costs of that education,” said Dr. Richard A. Hanson, president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. “Focusing on these issues will allow this project to achieve its ultimate goal, which is to see nearly four million more students receiving baccalaureate degrees each year.

“My vision for Bemidji State University’s future aligns well with this initiative’s vision for all of higher education in this country,” he added. “I’m proud that Bemidji State is joining with nearly 500 other colleges and universities to address these important issues.”

The AASCU says the project is higher education’s commitment to increasing the number of degrees offered, while also working to assure a quality education and cost-containment.

“The project also calls for a renewed partnership among public colleges and universities, the states and the federal government as we work to achieve these goals,” the association said in a statement.

“Education, including research, is the only public investment that provides both a social and an economic return,” the association continued. “Policymakers need tangible evidence that public higher education is transforming to meet economic and educational needs. Achieving these commitments will ensure greater economic security for America and the next generation of citizens.”

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