February 8, 2023
Educational Attainment and the Economy
Where Do We See the Best Opportunities for Growth?
Attaining a postsecondary credential has the potential to improve the life circumstances of people across the country as well as the financial and economic health of states. As individuals secure jobs that pay living wages, they become less reliant on social services, increase their personal spending, and generate additional tax revenue for the state. These benefits are likely to increase the state’s GDP, attract new industry, expand labor market opportunities, and reduce necessary state spending. Prior research shows…
January 17, 2023
Strengthening Mississippi’s Economic Future Through Postsecondary Investment
As Mississippi prepares to support the statewide postsecondary attainment goal, understanding the returns to higher education is crucial to determining where to invest resources. Ithaka S+R has partnered with the Woodward Hines Education Foundation to provide Mississippi policymakers, advocates, and legislators with information they need to make strategic investments in postsecondary education that can increase attainment of high-value postsecondary credentials, especially amongst lower-income Mississippians, people of color, and residents in rural communities.
March 11, 2021
Homeless and Foster Youth, Racial Inequity, and Policy Shifts for Systemic Change
Each year, roughly 4.2 million young people experience homelessness, and more than 600,000 children interact with the foster care system nationwide. Although youth homelessness and foster care are distinct experiences, many youth will crossover between these two groups. Both groups also face similar challenges, including highly unstable living environments, food insecurity, and often gaps in educational achievement and attainment. While the legal definition of youth homelessness varies across states and targeted policies, the Department of Education defines homeless…
January 19, 2021
A New Report Examining the Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances
Over the past two years, Ithaka S+R, in partnership with the Joyce Foundation, has examined the role of state policy in ensuring postsecondary access and opportunity for all students. In a newly released research paper, we build on our previous work and make the economic case for states to increase their attainment rates. To reap the benefits of their investments in increased attainment, we recommend that state leaders increase investment into historically underserved students, adopt progressive tax…
January 19, 2021
The Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances
Increased college-going and attainment comes with a host of benefits for individuals and society. A college credential is associated with increased civic engagement, volunteering, happiness, life satisfaction, and better health and wellness, as well as lower incarceration rates and reliance on social services. In addition to the host of nonpecuniary benefits of higher education, there is a direct link between both college access and attainment and students’ future economic outcomes. For example, students with test scores just above the eligibility…
August 11, 2020
Does Setting an Attainment Goal Move the Needle on Postsecondary Attainment?
As COVID-19 continues to threaten state budgets, statewide commitments to improving higher education outcomes remain more important than ever. While there are a multitude of individual, social, and civic benefits to investing in a well-educated population, supporting postsecondary access and completion should also be viewed as critical for states’ post-recession recovery. A college degree is associated with higher lifetime earnings potential, better health outcomes, and even a longer life expectancy. Closing equity gaps is also necessary to address broader social…
June 12, 2019
Setting a North Star
Motivations, Implications, and Approaches to State Postsecondary Attainment Goals
Higher education attainment goals can serve as a “north star” to guide states’ postsecondary policies, investments, and agendas. The extent to which state attainment goals lead to substantive improvements in college-going rates, college graduation rates, postsecondary credential attainment rates, and reductions in labor market skills gaps is as yet unclear. Further, the likelihood a state will meet its attainment goals varies by state and depends on contextual factors that are within and outside the purview of the education sector. In…