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November 06, 2012 3:24 PM More Americans Graduating from College

By Daniel Luzer

This is certainly not likely to be among America’s major news stories today, but it turns out that there’s some good news about American education. Record numbers of Americans are going to, and graduating from, college.

According to new data from the Pew Research Center:

In 2012, for the first time ever, one-third [33 percent] of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.
Also, a record share of the nation’s young adults ages 25 to 29 (90%) has finished at least a high school education. And another record share—63%—has completed at least some college.

In 2001 only 28 percent of America’s 25- to 29-year-olds had earned a bachelor’s degree. In 1971 the rate was 17 percent.

How that bachelor’s degree is working out, however, is a little unclear. The slow recovery of the economy means finding a good job with a BA continues to be difficult.

They also now have an average $26,600 worth of undergraduate debt to pay off. In 2001 average student loan debt was around $17,000.

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