A Stronger Nation: Postsecondary learning builds the talent that helps us rise

By Betsy Prueter

The Lumina Foundation recently released their annual report, A Stronger Nation, which tracked two and four year college attainment rates among adults between 25 and 64 years old in 2014.   According to the report, an additional 4.2 million U.S. adults have earned postsecondary degrees since 2008.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • The degree-attainment rate increased between 2008 (37.9%) and 2014 (45.3%).
    • In the last year of the period studied, (2013-2014), the attainment rate increased 5.3% from 40% to 45.3%.
  • The overall postsecondary attainment rate of 45.3% includes 40.4% of adults who completed a two or four year degree and the 4.9% of adults who obtained another high quality credential.
    • This is the first year the report is able to track high quality credentials beyond associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.
  • The group with the largest increase in attainment rates was adults between the ages of 25 and 34, whose rates increased from 37.8% to 42.3% from 2008 to 2014.
  • 60% of Asian-Pacific Islanders and 45.1% of White U.S. adults hold degrees, compared to 20.9% of Hispanic adults, 28.7% of African-American adults and 23.7% of Native American adults.
  • If this attainment rate continues, 35.7 million U.S. adults will earn a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025, which falls nearly 11 million short of Goal 2025 (60% or more of U.S. adults will hold degrees, certificates, or other high-quality credentials by the year 2025).