Pennsylvania: The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment

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Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, the current rate is 38.6%.
  • Pennsylvania ranks 31st among 50 states in the size of the credential increase it needs to achieve annually. To meet the 60% goal, it will need to produce an additional 819,345 degrees by 2025.
  • By achieving rates of the top-performing states, Pennsylvania can produce about 351,000 bachelor’s degrees, 284,000 associate degrees and 91,000 certificates by 2025.


Meeting Top Performers 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 Pennsylvania is projected to decrease by about $155 in 2025.
  • By meeting the top performers, annual per capita income would increase significantly more, by approximately $1,100 in 2025.



Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Economic Returns to the State

Status quo produces negative returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
Pennsylvania’s state revenues will decrease by about
$214 million in 2025.

Meeting top performance pays off

By meeting top performance, Pennsylvania will generate
more annual revenue, topping approximately $1.6 billion in

State Revenues Exceed Costs When Top Performance Goal is Met

Status Quo: Costs and revenues decline

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
Pennsylvania’s postsecondary costs decline, but so do
revenues-to about $120 m. below costs in 2025.

Meet top performance: Revenues exceed costs

By meeting top performance, Pennsylvania’s revenues
exceed postsecondary costs by about $1.4 billion by

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