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New push for two-year degrees could be smart move for US, report says

The US ranks 5th in the world for the share of its adults with degrees, but only 18th when looking at the two-year programs that the study author says will be sufficient for many jobs in the future. 

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If the US is to become a world leader once again in the percentage of citizens earning college degrees – as President Obama has called for by 2020 – it could go a long way by giving more attention to getting community college students over the finish line, a new report suggests.

Forty-two percent of adults in the United States ages 25 to 64 have four-year or two-year college degrees, putting the US in fifth place – behind Russia (54 percent), Canada (51 percent), Israel (46 percent) and Japan (45 percent), according to “Getting Back to the Top,” a National School Boards Association (NSBA) analysis of data from 41 countries collected by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (For the full report, click here.)

But the US drops to the 18th spot when looking only at adults who have two-year degrees, with countries ranging from Australia to Estonia surpassing the 10 percent showing in the US.

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