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The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment in the United States

April 06, 2012

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The United States Must Improve College Participation and Credential Attainment Rates to Remain Competitive

  • To remain globally competitive, the U.S. and each state should ensure that at least 60% of adults ages 25 to 64 have an associate or bachelor's degree by 2025. In the U.S., the current rate is 38.3%.

  • To meet the 60% goal, the U.S. will need to produce an additional 24,000,000 degrees by 2025.

  • Currently, the U.S. is on track to produce about 69,000 bachelor's and 127,000 associate degrees by 2025, as well as about 82,000 certificates.

  • By achieving rates of the top-performing states, the U.S. can produce about 9,500,000 bachelor's degrees, 9,500,000 associate degrees and 6,000,000 certificates by 2025.

 



Meeting Credential Goal Produces Significant Personal Economic Return

 

Per capita income increases when the nation meets the 60% credential attainment goal.

  • Under current postsecondary investment patterns, annual personal per capita income in the U.S. is projected to increase by $14 in 2025.

  • By meeting the 60% credential attainment goal, annual per capita income would increase significantly more - by approximately $1,400 in 2025.

 

 



Meeting Credential Goal Produces Significant Economic Returns

Status Quo produces small returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, total national revenue will increase by about $6 billion in 2025.

Meeting 60% credential goal pays off

By meeting the 60% credential goal, total national revenue increases significantly, topping $600 billion in 2025.



Revenues Exceed Costs When Credential Goal is Met

Status Quo: Costs exceed revenues

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
federal postsecondary costs exceed revenues by about
$70 million in 2025.

Meet 2025 goal: Revenues exceed costs

By meeting the 60% credential attainment goal, federal revenues exceed postsecondary costs by about $58 billion in 2025.


This analysis was prepared using the CLASP-NCHEMS Return on Investment Dashboard tool.  See www.clasp.org/ROIdashboard

 

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