College Degree Attainment Improves (A Little)

There’s apparently been a very slight improvement in the number of Americans who have earned college degrees. According to an article by Jamaal Abdul-Alim at Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

A new Lumina Foundation report released Monday states that college degree attainment in the United States inched up to 38.3 percent in 2010 from 37.9 percent in 2008.

The progress is a little better for young adults, whose rates increased from 37.8 percent in 2008 to 39.3 percent in 2010.

Well, sort of.

Only about 21 percent of the American adult population actually has a bachelor’s degree. The report doesn’t fully capture the nuances of credentials. Some 8 percent of the population has earned an associate degree (which counts as college here) though the percent of American who have earned relevant workforce credentials, which may be enough to secure steady employment and good wages, is not measured.

The report (check it out here) does not explain potential reasons why the degree attainment rate recently improved, or if that increase is unusual given historical trends and recent education policy changes.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer