Despite persistent appeals from policymakers and politicians to increase the number of college graduates in the United States, a new report projects a shortfall of nearly 24 million degree-holders by 2025, according to the Hechinger Report. The cost to the U.S. economy in lost wages and income taxes? About $600 billion a year. They’re the most dramatic figures yet in the ongoing debate about the need to improve the rates at which Americans successfully complete a higher education. In order to reach the goal of having 60 percent of adults with college degrees by the year 2025, the United States would have to confer an additional 24 million degrees beyond what it is already producing–but it is projected to award only 278,500 more degrees, the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems reported Thursday…

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