More Americans are earning college degrees: 33.5 percent of Americans ages 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, compared with 24.7 percent in 1995, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The number of two-year college degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates has also risen.
Enrollment and graduation rates are up, reports the New York Times. “The recent recession, which pushed more workers of all ages to take shelter on college campuses while the job market was poor, has also played a role.”
However, only about half of first-time college freshmen in 2006 had earned a degree by 2012, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.
Low-income students continue to lag bar behind. “Only about 1 out of 10 Americans whose parents were in the lowest income quartile held four-year college degrees by age 24 in 2011, compared to 7 in 10 from the highest quartile.
Lumina’s new report, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, estimates that 38.7 percent of working-age Americans (ages 25-64) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2011. That’s rising, but not fast enough to meet the foundation’s Goal 2025, which aims to increase the percentage of Americans with “high-quality degrees and credentials” to 60 percent in 12 years.
“There are worrisome signs that the demand for high-skilled talent is increasing more rapidly than we’re actually educating people,” said Lumina Foundation CEO Jamie P. Merisotis.
Lumina announced 10 achievement targets to raise the college attainment trend lines.