California’s college degree attainment above U.S. average
April 28, 2014
• But Central Valley has four of the five bottom counties
• California’s attainment rate barely cracks the top half, ranking 23rd
Just slightly fewer than four in every ten working age Californians hold at least an associate degree, slightly higher than the national average, according to a report from the Lumina Foundation of Indianapolis, Ind.
California’s average in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, was 39.7 percent; the national average was 39.4 percent.
Compared to other states, however, California’s attainment rate barely cracks the top half, ranking 23rd.
Some of the states ahead of California may be surprising, the foundation’s report says: North Dakota (45.6 percent); Nebraska (43.0 percent); Iowa (41.8 percent); Kansas (41.3 percent); and Montana (39.8 percent), among others. Massachusetts had the highest rate, at 50.5 percent.
Additionally, the growth in California’s attainment rate from 2008-2012 lagged the U.S. rate, according to the report. Over that period, the state’s rate increased by 1.1 percentage points, compared to 1.5 percentage points for the nation.
As for the Central Valley, three counties have higher averages and nine others are well below the national and statewide averages. The list below includes a county’s the main campus of its major public university, if it has one. All the counties have at least one community college campus and most have accredited private colleges and universities.
• Yolo: 47.78 percent (UC Davis)
• Sacramento: 38.26 percent (Sacramento State)
• Butte: 34.64 percent (Chico State)
• Fresno: 27.97 percent (Fresno State)
• San Joaquin: 27.15 percent
• Stanislaus: 24.16 percent (CSU Stanislaus)
• Yuba: 24.07 percent
• Kern: 21.82 percent (CSU Bakersfield)
• Madera: 21.21 percent
• Tulare: 21.23 percent
• Kings: 20.44 percent
• Merced: 19.91 percent UC Merced)
Tulare, Madera, Kings and Merced counties along with Del Norte County (20.21 percent) make up the bottom five of the state’s 58 counties.
The foundation says its goal is for 60 percent of Americans to have at least a post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. At California’s current rate, just 44.0 percent of working age state residents will have at least an associate degree in 2025, the report says.
It defines working age as those between 25 and 64 years of age.