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U.S. College Completion Rate Inches Up

The country still ranks 16th worldwide in the number of citizens holding a college degree.

From 2009 to 2010, the percentage of Americans who attained a college degree increased by about half a percentage point as the U.S. still ranks 16th in completion rates compared to other countries.

Based on U.S. Census data, the number of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 holding a post-secondary degree increased from 38.8 percent in 2009 to 39.3 percent in 2010, the Huffington Post reported.

According to HuffPo, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to address the college completion issue during a speech before the National Governor’s Association on Friday.

The Indianapolis Star reports that rising tuition costs is one of the several reasons why more young adults aren’t graduating from college. The news site reported that tuition at four-year public universities increased 15 percent between 2008 and 2010.

"We've made some progress, but the combination of deep state budget cuts and rising tuition prices is pushing an affordable college education out of reach for middle-class families," Duncan says in prepared remarks, as reported by The Star.

President Barack Obama’s administration has set a goal that, by 2020, 60 percent of adults would be holding a college degree.

Despite the slow pace, HuffPo reported that Duncan is expected to point to the marginal increase in completion rates as a sign that the U.S. is making progress toward that goal.

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