Our Work

Facts and Figures

We want to change the lives of Americans by ensuring access to educational opportunities. The simple fact is that educational attainment is the most assured route to an improved standard of living. Post-high school attainment is THE key factor in finding a meaningful and fruitful career. Such a career ensures not only prosperity for the educated, but also for their families and children.

Read More at A Stronger Nation

The economic imperative for increasing attainment

Four out of five jobs lost during the recession were those requiring high school education or less. Those low-skill jobs are gone for good, replaced by jobs that require specialized training and skills.

Despite a lingering high unemployment rate, employers say that they lack qualified job applicants. By 2020, two thirds of all jobs will require postsecondary education.

Young adults are continuing to enter the labor force ill prepared. At a mere 42%, the United States currently ranks thirteenth among developed countries in college attainment rates for young adults. 

The facts about attainment equity

The postsecondary attainment rate for adults is 40 percent. But the facts about attainment are far more complex. Adults who identify as Asian are leading in attainment with 59 percent, while whites come in at 44 percent. 

African American attainment rates are as low as 27 percent. Native American and Latino Americans complete postsecondary programs at even lower rates, 23 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

See: Lumina Foundation's equity imperative

The societal impact of higher attainment rates

There are a number of correlates with higher educational attainment that indicate overall better social, economic and personal outcomes for citizens. Societies with higher educational attainment can expect: greater civic and social engagement, higher rates of voter participation and volunteerism, healthier lifestyles, and less dependence on public assistance.

Source: Education Pays 2013
See also: How College Shapes Lives

Facts about postsecondary attainment in America
Facts about postsecondary attainment in America
June 12, 2012
Lumina Foundation

Additional Lumina Foundation Websites

Subsites Featuring Lumina Initiatives

Strategy Labs

Strategy Labs are an open platform for leaders and influencers in all 50 states to come together to share research, data and professional experiences.

Visit Strategy Labs

Degree Qualifications Profile

A learning-centered framework for what college graduates should know and be able to do to earn the associate, bachelor's or master's degree

Visit DegreeProfile.org

Focus Magazine

Lumina Foundation Focus features human-interest stories that highlight higher education issues in a reader-friendly, magazine-style format.

Read Focus Magazine online