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In 2014, 45.3 percent of working-age Americans held a high-quality postsecondary credential, according to the Lumina Foundation's seventh annual report on college completion. The foundation's completion number for the first time includes an estimate of how many working adults hold a certificate the foundation determines to be of value in the workforce. Their first-ever nationally representative survey on the topic found that 4.9 percent of Americans hold a high-value certificate. Another 40.4 percent hold an associate degree or higher, up slightly from 40 percent in 2013.

Lumina has set an ambitious goal of 60 percent of Americans holding a high-quality postsecondary credential by 2025. The foundation has long argued that certificates and other subdegree credentials will play an important role in meeting that goal, as has the Obama administration, but it has wrestled with how best to quantify and measure quality in that market. To ensure its new estimates only included certificates of high value, the foundation counted certificate holders who reported that they were employed in the field for which they earned their credential.

Pie chart showing levels of education for U.S. residents age 25 to 64.