About 45 percent of the working-age adults in the United States, the Lumina Foundation reported this month, a figure that doesn’t bode well for meeting the philanthropy’s national goal of 60 percent by 2025.
The foundation describes the 2014 national landscape of postsecondary attainment, and terms the year’s progress “slow and steady.” It finds modest increases among all racial and ethnic groups in the earning of associate degrees or higher, but black and Latino adults still lag behind whites and Asians. Overall, 45.3 percent of U.S. adults 25 to 64 years old have earned certificates or college degrees, according to the U.S. Census data cited by Lumina.
Last year’s report put college attainment at 40 percent. But that doesn’t mean attainment has risen 5.3 percentage points in one year. This year, Lumina included postsecondary certificates in its total, and that increased the attainment figure. Excluding postsecondary certificates from this year’s report, college attainment—in terms of associate and bachelor’s degrees—has risen only .4 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the April 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as College Graduation