Science news in brief: Science grads short of goal
July 17, 2008
EDUCATION: Science grads fall short of new goal
An effort begun three years ago to double the number of students graduating from U.S. colleges with science-related degrees by 2015 has made little progress, said a coalition of business groups pushing the initiative.
The number of undergraduate degrees awarded in math, science, engineering and technology increased by only 24,000 a year from 2001 to 2006, according to a report issued Tuesday by Tapping America's Potential. That's short of what's needed to reach the goal of 400,000 math and science graduates a year by 2015, said Susan Traiman, public policy director of the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives.
A shortage of graduates trained in disciplines such as mathematics, computer science and physics is hurting U.S. companies, Traiman said. Although President George W. Bush signed the America Competes Act last year to improve U.S. performance in math and science, the measure didn't lead to increased federal spending, she said.
About 225,700 college students graduated with science-related degrees in 2006, the group's report said. The number of computer science graduates dropped following the widespread failure of Internet companies at the beginning of this decade and hasn't rebounded, Traiman said.
U.S. high school students score 21st or lower on indexes comparing math and science aptitude among students of different countries, the report found.