An Obama administration official called on state leaders Wednesday to provide "stable and predictable higher-education funding" as one of the ways to ensure all residents earn at least a year of education after high school.
Martha Kanter, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education and a key policymaker on higher-education issues in President Obama's administration, spoke during a town hall-style meeting at the University of Washington's Kane Hall to a sympathetic crowd of more than 100 professors, deans, administrators and students.
Obama has called on colleges and universities to slow down the furious pace of tuition increases and has proposed a Race to the Top for college affordability and completion — a way to offer incentives for innovative programs that cut the cost of college and get more students to finish. He has also suggested cutting student financial aid to schools that don't graduate enough students, and whose students are in default on their loans.
Kanter, a former California community-college president who was appointed shortly after Obama took office in 2009, talked about how 13 other nations now have a higher percentage of their populations holding college degrees than in the U.S., and how educational achievement in the U.S. has largely stalled at a time when employers are calling for more sophisticated skills.