As part of a larger effort to understand the role of state policy in improving equity in access and attainment, Ithaka S+R has developed a new tool that forecasts long-run changes in attainment levels. The Ithaka S+R State Attainment Rate Projection Tool projects changes in the attainment rate at a state-by-state level for the next 30 years. The underlying drivers of our projections stem from projected changes in population, adult learning and credentialization, and traditional-aged students’ completions. As explained in the technical guide, the tool also allows users to adjust a range of criteria to estimate the likely impact of policy interventions or other changes in assumptions. We believe the tool will serve as a useful resource for those seeking to track progress towards current attainment goals and/or set new attainment goals.

In addition to this new tool, we have also published a report, Raising the Bar: What States Need to Do to Hit Their Ambitious Higher Education Attainment Goals, which presents findings from the analysis underlying the tool and related policy context and considerations.

To access the tool, please click the link below and download the excel workbook. You may be prompted to “enable macros” at the top of the screen when opening the file. Please accept this setting in order to ensure the tool populates projections. The tool is preset to the national goal and data, but can be adjusted to particular states using the dropdown menu. If you wish to save any customized projections, we advise saving a new copy of the file in order to preserve the original autofill formulas. Detailed instructions for using the tool are available in the second tab of the spreadsheet, as well as in the appendix to “Raising the Bar.” For assistance please email James Dean Ward or contact us using the form below.

Please also see our 2019 policy brief on setting “North Star” goals.


Please contact us if you would like more information about using the State Attainment Rate Projection Tool or state higher education policies.

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