Modest Gains in College Attainment Rates
A new report from the Lumina Foundation shows modest gains in higher education attainment here at home, even as college completion rates continue to climb in other parts of the world.
According to the report, 38.3% of working-age Americans (ages 2564) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010. That rate is up modestly from 2009, when the rate was 38.1%, and from 2008, when the rate was 37.9%. The report measures progress toward Goal 2025, which is a national movement to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.
If the U.S. continues on its current rate of production, only 79.8 million working-age Americans (46.5%) will hold degrees by 2025, leaving us more than 23 million degrees short of the national 60% goal.
More people are graduating from college, but the current pace is not sufficient, says Lumina. America is grappling with how to grow jobs, skills, and opportunity, and the report highlights the economic imperative of getting a post-secondary degree.
Heeding the call, a growing number of states have established goals for college completion, and numerous cities, business groups and higher education institutions have also set attainment goals.
The report also shows that 39.3% of young adults (ages 2534) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010, one of the few bright spots among the findings. That is a full percentage point higher than for all adults. In 2008, young adults ranked below the adult population as a whole.
The top five states for college degree attainment as of 2010 are: Massachusetts (50.4%), Colorado (45.98%), New Hampshire (45.85%), Connecticut (45.84%), and Minnesota (45.79%).
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