State Board of Higher Education sets ambitious attainment goal

September 28, 2016

At its meeting this month, the State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to increase the state’s attainment goal from 60 percent to 65 percent by 2025. The goal is to increase the percentage of North Dakota citizens who have post-secondary education.

The Board decided to immediately upgrade the attainment goal in its current strategic plan and study the possibility of increasing it to 70 percent by 2030 with the addition of high-quality credentials to the goal of having at least an associate’s degree. The attainment goal, which refers to the percentage of a state’s citizens who have an associate’s degree or higher, was increased in line with the Lumina Foundation’s goal to increase attainment throughout the U.S, and parallels efforts in adjacent states to do the same. In 2014, the Census Bureau’s Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) showed that 44 percent of citizens ages 25-64 have at least an associate’s degree.

“Having more citizens with higher levels of education increases their earning potential and also the potential of the state to attract businesses and help diversify our state’s economy,” said Board Chair Kathleen Neset. “At the same time, we will also will be studying our state’s changing demographics and making sure our goal is inclusive of underserved populations. We are committed to increase our attainment goals because we are not satisfied with the status quo, we want to set our sights high for our students and our state.”

The Board’s decision will enable the system to start working on a plan to achieve the new attainment goal and seek grant funding to help with that process. Discussions being held in upcoming weeks on the pillars of the Board’s long-range strategy initiative, Envision 2030, will also support shaping the possibilities for higher attainment.