Report: Tennessee Can Expect Flat High School Graduation Rate

June 29, 2011 | Memphis Business Journal |  Link to article

A new report suggests the number of high school graduates in Tennessee will grow by less than 1 percent over the next decade while the demand for workers with a high school education will grow 10.4 percent.

Tennessee is one of 39 states that will experience less than a five percent increase in the number of high school graduates in the next nine years, according to the report from the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

The report, “Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College,” anticipates the number of high school graduates in Tennessee will grow 0.8 percent between 2010 and 2020. According to the report, demand for workers with education beyond high school will increase by 12.2 percent in Tennessee, while demand for workers with a high school education is expected to grow 10.4 percent. By 2018, the report estimates, more than 53 percent of jobs in Tennessee will require postsecondary education or training.

“The country’s economic competitiveness rests on more people accessing postsecondary education and credentials,” Patrick Kelly, a senior associate at NCHEMS and coauthor of the report, said in a statement. “And with the aging of our population and decline in number of recent high school graduates entering college and the workforce, we need to make sure even more adults and nontraditional students have the skills they need to fill tomorrow’s jobs.”

Adult enrollment in college is expected to grow at a more rapid pace in the next few years than enrollment of high school graduates. Currently, 36 percent of undergraduates are 25 or older. Because of that, the report stresses the important of federal financial aid, including Pell Grants.

“Our public policies have an important role to play by making postsecondary education more accessible for adult and nontraditional students,” Vickie Choitz, a senior policy analyst at CLASP, said in a statement.

Click here for to download the report's Tennessee portion.

 

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