Alabama: The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment


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Alabama 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 Alabama, the current rate is 31.5%.
  • Alabama ranks 15th among 50 states in the size of the degree gap it needs to fill. To meet the 60% goal, it will need to produce an additional 475,220 degrees by 2025.
  • By achieving rates of the top-performing
    states, Alabama can produce about 176,000 bachelor’s degrees, 134,000 associate degrees, and 78,000 certificates by 2025.


Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Personal Economic Return


Per capita income increases when the state meets top performers

  • Under current postsecondary investment patterns, annual personal per capita income in Alabama is projected to decrease by about $56 in 2025.
  • By meeting top performers, annual per capita income would increase significantly more, by approximately $1,600 in 2025.



Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Economic Returns to the State

Status quo produces negative returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
Alabama’s state revenue will decrease by $19.9 million in 2025.

Meeting top performance pays off

By meeting top performance, Alabama will generate more annual revenue, topping approximately $604 million in 2025.

State Revenues Exceed Costs When Top Performance is Met

Status Quo: Costs and revenues decline

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, Alabama postsecondary costs decline, but so do revenues.

Top Performance: Revenues exceed costs

By meeting top performance, Alabama’s revenues exceed postsecondary costs by approximately $272 million by 2025.

This analysis was prepared using the CLASP-NCHEMS Return on Investment Dashboard tool.  See