Degrees and Certificates Rise in U.S., but Not Fast Enough

"Educational-attainment levels in the United States continued to grow in 2016, according to data being released on Monday by the Lumina Foundation, but the pace of that increase is not enough to put the nation on track to meet the goal of the foundation, and of many states, of having 60 percent of adults with a degree or credential of value by 2025," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"According to the latest figures, 46.9 percent of the population held a degree or credential of value in 2016, up from 45.8 percent in 2015. Lumina began tallying such data in 2008. In 2014, it began to include credentials as part of the totals. Without credentials, the proportion of 25- to 64-year-olds with an associate degree or higher was 41.7 percent in 2016, up from 37.9 percent for the comparable figure in 2008.

Foundation leaders credited growing completion rates at colleges for some of the improvement, but Jamie Merisotis, the organization’s president, said the lagging rates of attainment for African-American, Latino, and Native American students were troubling.

As in 2015, the state with the highest attainment level was Massachusetts, with an attainment rate of 56.2 percent. The state with the lowest attainment rate was again West Virginia, with a rate of 34.7 percent. But West Virginia was also the state that has shown a sizable improvement in education levels since 2008; the proportion of adults with an associate degree or higher rose by 20 percent during that period."

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Publication Date: 2/13/2018

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