STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Report to the President: Engage to Excel: Producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report to the President (February 2012)


From the Executive Report:

"Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology. To meet this goal, the United States will need to increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34% annually over current rates.

"Currently the United States graduates about 300,000 bachelor and associate degrees in STEM fields annually. Fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. Increasing the retention of STEM majors from 40% to 50% would, alone, generate three­ quarters of the targeted 1 million additional STEM degrees over the next decade. Many of those who abandon STEM majors perform well in their introductory courses and would make valuable additions to the STEM workforce. Retaining more students in STEM majors is the lowest­cost, fastest policy option to providing the STEM professionals that the nation needs for economic and societal well­being, and will not require expanding the number or size of introductory courses, which are constrained by space and resources at many colleges and universities..."