News Release from AASCU


Contact: Susan Chilcott (202) 478-4661

ACE News Release: Higher Education Associations to Convene Commission on Attainment

Washington, DC (Oct. 17, 2011)—Six presidential higher education associations today announced the creation and first convening of a national Commission on Higher Education Attainment.

The commission members were nominated by each of the presidential associations. E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, will serve as chair. There are also three vice-chairs: Andrew K. Benton, president of Pepperdine University (CA); Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College (NY); and George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College (NJ). The commission's goal is to chart a course for greatly improving college retention and attainment and, in turn, restore the nation's higher education preeminence.

"President Obama's call for the United States to have the highest level of postsecondary educational attainment in the world by 2020 highlights the importance of higher education to our nation's future," said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. "We believe achieving this important objective will not be possible without clear and decisive leadership by colleges and universities, which is why we are launching this effort."

While the precise work of the commission will be defined by the participants, the topics to be explored will include:

  • The changing nature of students seeking a degree or credential;
  • The ability of higher education to attract, retain and graduate the increasing number of adults seeking a degree or credential;
  • The current capacity of higher education to accommodate the large number of students who will need to enroll if we are to increase the number of graduates; and
  • The opportunities to increase efficiency and enhance productivity in meaningful ways.

"We believe the time has come for a diverse group of college and university leaders to document candidly and thoroughly the actions that must be taken to significantly boost retention and attainment, particularly at a time when resources are tight," said Broad. "Such an effort must recognize the wide range of institutions that make up American higher education—there are not likely to be single solutions that will work equally well for all types of schools."

The first commission meeting will take place Oct. 31 at ACE's Washington, DC, offices. The commission is expected to complete its work by fall 2012.

Click here to view the complete list of commission members.


Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.