Lumina’s Leader Sets Lofty Goals for Fund’s Role in Policy Debates


Jamie Merisotis, the 45-year-old President of the Lumina Foundation, has a lot to teach college presidents and K-12 principals through the actions in his first year in this position. First, he has set ambitious goals, the primary one being 60% of the U.S. population earning degrees or credentials by 2025. Second, Merisotis has asked key questions like, why are other developing countries outpacing the U.S. in education and why have we been satisfied with academic performance which is at a 40-year-old standard from which all other countries have moved ambitiously beyond?

Third, he has broadened Lumina’s scope and mission to be a policy-driven change agent in addition to a grant-funding organization. Fourth, he has taken specific steps to model progressive and successful European models in Indiana, Minnesota and Utah so that those models can be improved and expanded in other areas in the U.S. Fifth, Merisotis is forging necessary partnerships with businesses and business leaders who can support, buttress and take action on behalf of this mission. Finally, Merisotis gets that more Americans students need access and student success preparation for continued life success. If we are going to have 16 million more graduates by 2025, we all need to have this same vision, standards, commitment and collaboration.

Chronicle of Higher Education

Soon after Jamie P. Merisotis took over the Lumina Foundation for Education last year, he began talking about a “big goal.” America must increase the proportion of its population with degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025, in order to remain globally competitive and meet the nation’s growing demand for college-educated workers, he said. The United States, he warned, is falling behind, and the foundation would make reversing the trend the core of its work.

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