Percentage of degree-holding adults plateaus
The national percentage of adults with college degrees has plateaued, despite goals set by 36 states and the Lumina Foundation for Education to increase the number of college degree holders, according to a report the foundation released Monday.
The Lumina Foundation, based in Indianapolis, is a private organization which seeks to expand student access to education. It aims to increase the national proportion of college degree or credential holders to 60 percent by the year 2025.
According to the report, "A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," 38.3 percent of working-age Americans aged 25 to 64 held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010. This rate has increased from 38.1 percent in 2009, and from 37.9 percent in 2008.
If the trend continues, only 79.8 million working-age Americans - 46.5 percent of those aged 25-64 - will hold degrees by 2025, according to the report. This figure is 23 million degrees short of the foundation's national 60 percent goal.
Virginia is one of the 36 states attempting to accelerate degree attainment.
"The Lumina Foundation's goal of increasing the national proportion of degree holders is in line with Gov. [Bob] McDonnell's goals of increasing access to higher education and ensuring that we are adequately preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow when they graduate," McDonnell spokesperson Taylor Thornley said in an email.
Last year, McDonnell introduced the "Top Jobs" legislation, which established a state goal of awarding 100,000 college degrees during the next 15 years.
"[McDonnell] believes that this affordable access to higher education is key to preparing Virginians for the jobs of the future, and to keep our economy thriving," McDonnell spokesperson Jeff Caldwell said in an email.
Thornley said the legislation could make Virginia one of the most highly educated states in the nation. "This legislation also creates the framework for sustained, reform-based investment and will encourage meaningful innovation through the use of greater technology, year round facilities usage and innovative and economical degree paths," he said.
In 2012 McDonnell proposed $100 million for additional funding to higher education. Thornley said the proposal reflected the Commonwealth's attempts to attain the policy goals.
-compiled by Callie Herod