Wisconsin: The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment

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Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, the current rate is 39.1%.
  • Wisconsin ranks 28th 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 422,727 degrees by 2025.
  • By achieving rates of the top-performing states, Wisconsin can produce about 171,000 bachelor’s degrees, 48,000 associate degrees and 63,000 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 Wisconsin is projected to decrease by about $59 in 2025.
  • By meeting top performers, annual per capita income would increase significantly more, by approximately $850 in 2025.



Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Economic Returns to the State

Status quo produces negative returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, Wisconsin’s state revenues will decrease by about $55 million in 2025.

Meeting top performance pays off

By meeting top performance, Wisconsin will generate more annual revenue, topping approximately $815 million in 2025.

State Revenues Exceed Costs When Top Performance Goal is Met

Status Quo: Revenues are lower than costs

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, Wisconsin’s state revenues are about $20 million below postsecondary
costs in 2025.

Meet top performance: Revenues exceed costs

By meeting top performance, Wisconsin’s revenues
exceed postsecondary costs by nearly $450 million in

This analysis was prepared using the CLASP-NCHEMS Return on Investment Dashboard tool.  See clasp2022.tealmedia.dev/ROIdashboard