January 31, 2024

Indiana lags behind on college degree goal, report finds

WFYI File Photo

WFYI File Photo

The number of Indiana students who earned a postsecondary degree or credential is on par with the national average. But that is still below the goal set by Indiana's leaders.

As annual report from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation that tracks credentials and degrees for working-age adults, found the rate for post-high school education is 54 percent. In 2012, the state set a goal that 60 percent of residents would earn a college degree or credential by 2025.

According to the report, A Stronger Nation, Indiana's overall rate of attainment increased by 20.3 percentage points since 2009.

"To reach state goals, the state will not only have to maintain current rates of attainment but also significantly increase the number of people who enroll in programs and earn all types of credentials beyond high school," the report said.

The national rate for degree or credential attainment is just under 54 percent. That’s just a 0.6 percentage point increase from the previous year. This rate includes short-term credentials, like certificates, that can lead to employment. Excluding short-term credentials, the national rate is around 45 percent.

Since 2009, the overall national attainment rate increased by 16 percentage points.

Although there was growth in degree attainment across all ethnicities, significant gaps between racial group persist. The attainment rate for Black adults is around 35 percent and for Hispanic adults it is 29. White adults are earning degrees at a higher rate of 50 percent.

“Our shared goal is to increase attainment to 60 percent, to make sure that the population has the skills and the knowledge that they need,” said Courtney Brown, the lead researcher on the report. “And while we've made incredible progress toward that we're getting closer and closer, we're still seeing stubborn equity gaps.”

Contact WFYI Marion County education reporter Sydney Dauphinais at sdauphinais@wfyi.org.

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