ERIC Number: EJ1202954
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Recent Trends in Several Key Metrics in Higher Education
Prescott, Brian T.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v51 n1 p22-27 2019
This edition of "Playing the Numbers" reports on recent trends in a few key measures related to postsecondary education. Among the trends examined will be key issues of educational attainment, participation, and finance and affordability. Moreover, given the critical role of the states in the delivery of postsecondary education, it will conclude by highlighting differences in the recent history of the states along some of these dimensions. For a number of years, there has been significant interest among policymakers in increasing educational attainment rates, propelled in part by evidence that the global economy will continue to demand education and training beyond high school. The good news is that the nation as a whole has seen steady growth in the share of the working-age population (ages 25-64) with a college degree. Since 2005, when about 37 percent held at least an associate's degree, the nation's educational attainment rose by about 4.3 percentage points by 2016. Unfortunately, the gap in educational attainment rates grew over the same period due to a relatively faster increase among White, non-Hispanics than for members of traditionally underrepresented groups. As a result, by 2016, the proportion of White, non-Hispanics with college degrees stood at 46.4 percent, much higher than the 25.4 rate for underrepresented populations. With underrepresented populations--especially Hispanics--growing rapidly while White, non-Hispanics are declining, it is clear that the nation's ability to reach the educational attainment levels called for to meet workforce needs will depend on rapidly closing these persistent gaps. While the value of a postsecondary education has been obvious for decades, policymakers' attention to boosting educational attainment rates has been more prominent in recent years. Findings indicate that the nation has made some progress, although much work remains to be done. Unfortunately, recent trends suggest that the persistent racial/ethnic gaps in educational attainment are continuing to hold back progress. Given demographic changes already evident, it is clear that only by closing those gaps will we be able to achieve our goals.
Descriptors: Educational Trends, Higher Education, Educational Attainment, Achievement Gap, Student Participation, Enrollment, Educational Finance, Ability, Paying for College, White Students, Disproportionate Representation, Minority Group Students, College Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A