Meeting Iowa’s Goal 2025 For Degree Attainment

Meeting Iowa’s Goal 2025 For Degree Attainment

Iowa has exhibited an increase in degree attainment. The number of students earning an associate degree was 54 percent higher in 2014 versus 2004 and 40 percent higher for a bachelor’s degree. The number of students completing graduate degrees has risen by 75 percent since 2004.1 These increases have outpaced the growth of Iowa’s workforce,2 indicating that the workforce has become more educated since 2004. However, as of 2014, only 60 percent of the workforce had education beyond high school,3 short of Iowa’s 70 percent educational attainment goal for 2025.

College Enrollment Rates Necessary to Meet Goal 2025

To meet Goal 2025, the number of Iowans in the workforce with education beyond high school (Iowans age 25–64 years) needs to increase by 10 percentage points. Although there are many factors, two ways to achieve this include: adding enough young Iowans with postsecondary education or training to the workforce or increasing the number of Iowans currently in the workforce with postsecondary education (older, non-traditional students who return to school).

The number of educated Iowans participating in the 2015 workforce and remaining each year between 2015 and 2025 will decrease due to retirement.4 As of 2013, 63 percent of Iowa’s young adults were enrolled in some college1 so the educational attainment of the incoming workforce is assumed to be 63 percent. To reach the 70 percent educational attainment goal, non-traditional students must contribute. In 2013, 2 percent of Iowans age 25 and older were enrolled in a first year of college.1 If the percentage of young adults with postsecondary education remains constant, first-time college enrollment by those in the current workforce with no postsecondary education will also need to be 2 percent each year to keep Iowa on track to meet Goal 2025.

While the numbers are promising, Iowa still faces challenges in meeting the 2025 goal. Since 2013 (the last time data was available on adult postsecondary enrollment in Iowa), enrollment of students over age 24 has decreased by 3–4 percent each year nationally through the spring of 2016.5 Iowa is expected to have followed that national trend. Therefore, it is likely that first-time adult enrollment will not maintain the value of 2 percent of the workforce. In that case, the percentage of young Iowans entering the workforce with postsecondary education or training would need to increase.

1)     U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics.
2)     Iowa Workforce Development. (2004-2014). Labor Force Summary.
3)     U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. (2014). Educational Attainment.
4)     Woods & Poole Economics, Inc. (2015). The complete economic and demographic data source CEDDS. Washington, DC: Author. The use of this data and the conclusion drawn from it are solely the responsibility of Iowa College Student Aid Commission.
5)     National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. (2016). Current Term Enrollment Estiamtes, Spring 2016.

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on December 15, 2017 at 11:48am.