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April 25, 2011 3:25 PM College Attainment Map

By Daniel Luzer

In 2009 President Obama announced that the United States should have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020.

We’ve got a long way to go. According to a piece by Sarah Butrymowicz at the Hechinger Report:

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education broke down how many graduates each state would need to contribute for the nation to reach Obama’s goal. The Department set targets for each state, noting that “if every state makes its contribution at the midpoint of the ranges shown, the United States will again lead the world in college attainment by the end of the decade.”

Alaska would have to more than double the number of college graduates in the next nine years to meet the goal. Nationally, only 39 percent of the population has an associate degree or higher.

The map shows the percentage change required by state:

Map1.jpg

This is, as I’ve pointed out before, all sort of academic. Since there are no dramatic policy initiatives coming out of the White House to get us to that magical place where 60 percent of the population has some kind of college credential, the precise increases that each state would have to make are sort of irrelevant. Still, it’s interesting to see how far away we really are away from being the country on earth with the most college graduates.

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

Comments

  • Bob on April 25, 2011 7:09 PM:

    There are so many factors that go into our poor college attainment. However, one which is actually not the colleges' fault is the generally poor preparation many students get in High School. I'm sorry to say it but when somewhere around 1/3 of freshmen entering public 4 year schools and over 40% of those entering 2 year schools need to take remedial education courses there's something fundamentally wrong.