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Port: UND President Mark Kennedy gets it: Improved completion rates need to be the priority in higher education

Mark Kennedy addresses people after being selected as the next President of the University of North Dakota Tuesday at the Gorecki alumni center. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

UND President Mark Kennedy has a column in the Grand Forks Herald today which illustrates why he is the sort of leader the North Dakota University System has been in desperate need of.

Kennedy writes about the ways in which universities like UND need to adapt to serve students of the future.

The entire piece is worth a read, but this excerpt caught my attention:

"Yet perhaps in no place is the need to fit the system to the individual greater than in our effort to increase the percentage of our students that graduate. Studies suggest that college graduates earn a million dollars more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, nearly a 40-to- 1 payback on the average debt from a university like UND. The best way to make college affordable is by making the necessary investments and adaptations to help students graduate and realize the benefits of having a degree."

Traditionally the focus of the North Dakota University System has been on enrollment growth. Remember NDSU President Dean Bresciani’s unilateral push to grow his institution’s enrollment t0 18,000 students – a 24 percent increase – over five years?

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