In recent months, President Barack Obama has emphasized the importance of college degree programs in ensuring a prosperous future for America. Aside from devoting $2 billion to the nation's community colleges, Obama has also wielded federal funds to create additional student loan tax credits and to raise the healthcare age cap, which allows young adults to remain covered under their parents' plan for an additional year after they graduate.
The renewed focus on postsecondary education, along with an influx of online education programs, has prompted the Lumina Foundation to release a report that defines certain standards that a degree recipient should meet. The private organization has set a goal to increase the percentage of Americans who hold advanced degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
According to the report, Lumina states that scholars who complete a college degree program should be able to demonstrate abilities in five areas of competence: knowledge of their field, an integrated understanding across multiple industries, the ability to apply their studies, intellectual skills such as analysis and communication, as well as their ability to engage in society and public discourse.
The authors of the report also proposed tasks that allow students to demonstrate each skill, and the difficulty of the assessments would vary based on the their degree level and field of study.
Working individuals who wish to enroll in higher education programs may consider enrolling in online schools, many of which offer flexible class schedules and cost savings.