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Michiganians with college degree up for sixth year

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Michigan has reached its highest rate in six years of people earning post-secondary degrees, but it’s slightly below the national rate.

Residents between 25 and 64 years old who earned a degree increased from 35.7 percent in 2008 to 39.3 percent in 2014, according to a report from the Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused on increasing success in higher education. That’s a 3.6 percent increase.

“Progress is being made in Michigan,” said Daniel Hurley, CEO of Michigan Association of State Universities. “It’s a long climb up, boosting the levels of educational attainment. But it is absolutely critical to the state’s future and it’s good to see progress is being made.”

Nationally, the proportion of adults 25-64 who held two- or four-year college degrees reached 40.4 percent in 2014. That is up 4.7 percent from 2008, when educational attainment was 35.7 percent.

“The impact of increasing Michigan’s college attainment rate is gaining momentum, but we still have important work to do,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network.

“It’s exciting to see our efforts on a local level pay off; however, we’re committed to reaching our goal of 60 percent of Michigan residents with a degree or post-secondary certificate by the year 2025.”

The bulk of Michigan residents with a degree — about 18 percent — earned a bachelor’s degree, according to the report, which was released Friday. Nearly 11 percent held either a graduate or professional degree while 10 percent held associate degrees.

Other findings:

■The largest group without a degree were high school graduates at 27.6 percent , followed by those with some college, but no degree at 25.5 percent.

■Asian/Pacific Islanders made up the largest group of those who had attained degrees, about 69.8 percent, followed by whites at 40.5 percent, African-Americans at just under 24.9 percent, Hispanics at 23.7 percent and Native Americans at about 21.4 percent.

■ Washtenaw County, home to the University of Michigan, led the state with about 61 percent of residents having at least an associate degree, followed by Oakland County, home to Oakland University, at about 54.7 percent and Leelanau County at 49.5 percent.

■Detroit-Dearborn-Warren ranked 14th nationally by metro area for the percentage of residents 25-64 with at least an associate degree.

“Many of those who see education beyond high school as valuable and essential aren’t able to attain post-secondary credentials in today’s environment,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation.

“Closing that gap, or increasing attainment equity is an economic imperative, and will require a shift in the way we think about higher education to include and better serve non-traditional learners.”

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2024