45% of adults have degree, certificate

Postsecondary attainment is inching up, according to the Lumina Foundation’s new Stronger Nation report. As of 2014, 31.5 percent of working-age U.S. adults had a bachelor’s degree or more, 9 percent had a two-year degree and 4.9 percent had earned a “high-value” vocational certificate.

Certificates were considered “high value” if the holder was employed in the career field for which they’d earned a credential.

Lumina’s goal is for 60 percent of U.S. adults to hold a high-quality postsecondary credential by 2015.

Pie chart showing levels of education for U.S. residents age 25 to 64.

More earn degrees, but 60% goal is uncertain

More Americans are earning college degrees, but the Lumina Foundation’s ambitious goal — 60 percent of adults with a degree or high-value certificate by 2025 — may be out of reach.

More Americans are college graduates

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.

The college counselor is an online portal

An online portal is helping community college students identify their learning styles and study strategies.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  The Lumina Foundation is funding Latino college success initiatives.

What does a degree mean?

Many college students get a credential but not an education, writes an author of the Lumina Foundation’s proposed framework for defining what competencies students should master.

Professors are fascinated, puzzled and skeptical.

Defining degrees

What does a college degree mean in terms of student learning? So many hours of  seat time? The Lumina Foundation has developed a framework to determine the knowledge and skills students should demonstrate to earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree. But will colleges use the Degree Qualifications Profile?

Also on Community College SpotlightIs a college degree worth the debt? It’s a humorous (and bilingual!) animated video.

Is a degree worth it for all students?

On Community College Spotlight: Is a college degree worth it for all students?

Also, the Lumina Foundation’s Goal 2025 is to get 60 percent of U.S. adults to a  high-quality degree, certificate or credential. Notice they’re not aiming for 100 percent.