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The 2024 State of Higher Education study includes responses from over 14,000 U.S. adults aged 18 to 59 without a college degree

Since 2020, Lumina Foundation and Gallup have partnered to produce the State of Higher Education study, an annual survey of thousands of U.S. adults without a college degree. Each year, Lumina and Gallup measure their attitudes toward education beyond high school, interest in pursuing a degree or credential, the barriers they face to enrolling or completion, and the experiences currently enrolled students report having in their programs.

Critical findings from the 2024 State of Higher Education study include:

  1. Nearly all adults without a college degree say at least one type of credential is “extremely” or “very” valuable.
  2. Career outcomes — such as earning a raise, promotion or a more fulfilling role — are the primary motivators for pursuing higher education.
  3. Meanwhile, the primary barriers to enrollment are cost and a lack of financial aid.
  4. More than one in three currently enrolled students have considered stopping out of their degree or credential program within the last six months.
  5. About one in six currently enrolled students say they have at least occasionally felt disrespected, discriminated against or unsafe in their program.