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Lumina Report on College Completion Goal

April 11, 2016

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.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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