Another call for more college graduates in Georgia

Interesting study by the Center for Law and Social Policy and the Center for Higher Education Management Systems warning that Georgia will leave $1.913 billion on the table in revenues if we don’t produce more college grads by 2025.

New analysis of US Census, National Center for Education Statistics, and Department of Education data by CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Center for Higher Education Management Systems  shows to remain globally competitive, the United States will need to produce 24 million additional degrees by 2025 to achieve a 60 percent degree attainment rate among adults ages 25 to 64.

In Georgia, the current rate is 36.1 percent. At current attainment rates, the U.S. is on track to produce just 278,500 additional degrees and Georgia is on track to produce just 79,000 additional degrees by 2025– a significant shortfall.

This low credential production – relative to need – results in relatively small increases in average personal earnings and state revenues. Under the state’s current postsecondary patterns, annual personal per capita income in Georgia is projected to increase by about $240 in 2025, and additional state revenues in income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and savings in Medicaid and corrections spending will increase by only about $287 million in 2025.

However, if Georgia improves college participation rates and credential attainment rates enough to meet the 60 percent credential attainment goal by 2025 (920,293 degrees), the state will see revenues increase by about $2.2 billion and exceed postsecondary costs by about $870 million in 2025. Georgia ranks 10th out of the 50 states on the size of the degree gap to fill to meet the 60 percent goal. By meeting the 60 percent credential attainment goal, annual per capita income in Georgia would also increase by approximately $1,800 in 2025.

The nation overall is also falling behind other leading countries in the number of adults with a postsecondary credential and the skills needed by employers. If the United States does not significantly increase the number of credentialed adults, the country stands to walk away from about $600 billion in additional national revenue in 2025. Currently, the United States ranks 15th among 34 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries with only 41 percent of the young adults having college degrees, behind leading OECD countries like Canada, Japan, France and the UK. The top three OECD countries – South Korea, Canada, and Japan – are on track to increase their college degree attainment to 60 percent by 2020.

“Leading OECD countries understand the direct correlation between educational attainment and national economic success. As policymakers and business leaders in the United States continue to look at ways to ensure our national economic prosperity, they need to push for investments to dramatically increase the number of postsecondary credentials,” said Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst, CLASP. “These increases can’t be put off for another five or 10 years if we want a strong economic future for America.”

The Return on Investment Dashboard allows stakeholders to calculate the short- and long-term effects of either maintaining the status quo or increasing investments in postsecondary education. For example, under the status quo, additional national revenues from the 278,500 additional credentials will be about $6 billion. On the other hand, additional national revenue from meeting the 24 million credential mark would top $600 billion in 2025.

“For some states, the 60 percent goal is out of reach; however, all states would see substantial revenue gains if they invest in increasing the number of adults who attain postsecondary credentials,” said Patrick Kelly, Senior Associate, NCHEMS. “This is a win-win for states, their local businesses, and their local economies.”

Federal and state funding for higher education, adult education and workforce development has declined over the past few decades and remains under threat with budget pressures. This tool shows that moves to cut state funding for postsecondary education and federal Pell Grants are short-sighted. By investing more in postsecondary education, not only will the country’s coffers reap rewards, but so too will personal income grow. Better educated workers earn higher wages and are more likely to be employed than less-educated ones.

Under current postsecondary investment patterns, however, annual personal per capita income in the U.S. is projected to increase by just $14 in 2025. By meeting the 60 percent credential attainment goal, annual per capita income in the U.S. would increase significantly more to approximately $1,400

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog.

30 comments Add your comment

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

April 27th, 2012
6:04 am


Stop feeding everyone (and giving them cell phones!!). If you fulfill Maslow’s needs for everyone, then no one will be motivated to fulfill their own needs – well, maybe 278,500 – but not the rest…

God Bless the Teacher!

April 27th, 2012
6:05 am

Canada…much fewer people than the U.S.A., South Korea, and Japan. (# of degrees) divided by (fewer people) equals (higher attainment %). Percentages can be very misleading. South Korea and Japan…those cultures value education. As has been said many times on this blog, until our culture truly values education (pre-college), we will never be able to play the same game with the countries that do. Could it be that the authors of the report have a different motive? Is it really just to scare the nation into sending more students to the college corporations so more degrees can be “produced?” I’m not doubting that we need to have a better educated work force, but it’s getting more difficult to convince me that the love affair going on between colleges and the business lobby hasn’t been part of the problem for a while. Send more students to college (while we conitnue to raise costs out of the range of most students, unless they take out a huge amount of loans to pay for the ride). Give us more college graduates (or we’ll continue to outsource our R&D, production and other business operations because it won’t cost as much and we’ll make record profits). Sounds like the prostitution ring is getting a little out of hand.

It's Quality Not Just Quantity

April 27th, 2012
6:16 am

It’s the quality of the college graduates in Georgia as well as the quantity of college graduates in GA that concern me. With the pressure to make more college graduates without the commitment to produce more college ready high school graduates Georgia will surely see a lot of 22 year olds walking out the door with a diploma but lacking a real education.
In another blog a teacher was highlighted because she was complaining about the number of writing assignments she had to grade. Other teachers advised her to simply not grade them.
Without assessing the student’s knowledge, the student can’t learn an correct mistakes.
Without critical writing skills learned in k-12, kids won’t be college ready. If the kids aren’t college ready, they can’t learn in college. If they aren’t ready to do college work and our state government is pressing for more college graduates, then we will “graduate” a bunch of kids with a worthless diploma…just as we do in Georgi’a high schools.
As long as we have teachers who think it is “horrifying” to have to grade writing assignments, GA is doomed to produce more diploma mill know nothings.
The dumbing down of GA college graduates lies at the feet of the k-12 school systems that should be preparing them for college.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

April 27th, 2012
6:29 am

That’s college graduates with college-level skills, I’d think.

If we attempt to solve our college graduation rate problem in the same manner we have attempted to “solve” the shortfall in high school grads, we’re doomed.

The goal is the ability to demonstrate a certain knowledge, skill and attitude set; the goal is not the ability to show another a certain piece of paper.

yes i am worried

April 27th, 2012
6:47 am

Dr. Spinks is right — the goal is about the degree, but rather the skills needed to earn a degree.

The problem is so complex. Starting with the reality that many students just aren’t college ready to the fact, that even for those that are, the cost is unmanageable, what we need are fewer studies saying we need more college graduates and much more work towards getting us there.

Attentive Parent

April 27th, 2012
7:43 am

So glad to see the commenters are not falling for this economically illiterate piece of propaganda designed to force people to fund all these institutions of higher ed regardless of real benefit being offered to students.

I will have to check out these centers but usually this circular reasoning assertions on higher ed come from Anthony Carnevale. Maybe he realized he was just attracting attention to his other writings and his real education agenda.

Higher ed is a voracious monster that must be fed. With your tax money. And student loans. And lottery proceeds. Deanlings and deanlets deserve six figure salaries. It’s arduous attending so many meetings to discuss so many memos.

And God Bless-good catch on the business/higher ed alliance. You might want to read up on Joseph Schumpeter to truly appreciate this particular scam.

HS Public Teacher

April 27th, 2012
7:58 am

I honestly don’t know if it is “them” or if it is just bad reporting, but in any case….

Yes, we need more college graduates. But what that MEANS is that we need more highly educated people. Simply creating college mills and handing out a diplomas because someone borrowed money to pay the tuition will NOT help the situation.


April 27th, 2012
7:59 am

Yes. We need more people in college to line the pockets of those in post-secondary education. Let’s don’t forget that it will also help our big corporations. They can require their customer service representatives to have a four-year degree and also pay them less at the same time. If you haven’t noticed, jobs that have traditionally never required a college degree (nor do they need one to be successful) are now requiring degrees and paying less than when they required a HS diploma.

This country needs to be making a big push for education in skilled trades. Vocational schools are the appropriate outlet for many of our children. My children know that a “HS Diploma” is NOT an acceptable option for them. However, they know that they aren’t required to go to college either. As long as they go to college OR get trained in a trade, they know that my wife and I will support their decision.

Joe Frank

April 27th, 2012
8:05 am

Let’s see… the country is invaded by a force of uneducated laborers who value jobs over education…the grad rate starts to drop…the country that was invaded rewards occupiers with social programs… not to hard to figue out that word problem!

Misty Fyed

April 27th, 2012
8:15 am

I can’t help but wonder if we are setting a something like the housing bubble. I’m all for secondary education but do you really need a 4 year degree and the debt it brings to transfer rental cars from store to store? Time and time again I see kids walking away with a degree in something and getting a job in another field all together. Was the degree necessary to begin with if they can work in a field they were not trained?


April 27th, 2012
8:30 am

What we will need are more graduates in fields that require a goodly knowledge of math and science. Unfortunately, most of us do not have advanced mathematical aptitude. So, more and more of jobs now and in the future will require degrees that the majority of students don’t have the ability to acquire. Nothing good can possibly come from this.

A working Mother

April 27th, 2012
8:32 am

Misty Fyed, are you employed?
Do you have a professional job?
A college degree is absolutely necessary if you want to earn a living wage that provides health insurance.
Those college kids with degreees move cars around today but they will have a shot at being promoted ONLY IF they have a college degree.
Otherwise, they are making $7.25 an hour and then having families and then using my tax money to fund their health care and food stamps.
American society needs more college graduates. REAL collegegraduates with a real education, not just a piece of paper. We don’t need a diploma mill.


April 27th, 2012
8:36 am

Folks, there are only three ways for a country to “create” wealth – make it, grow it, or mine it. Everything else is simply shuffling money between entities.

Over the past forty years, the US has allowed much of our manufacturing base to move offshore, taken millions of acres of arable land out of production, and waged economic/environmental war against mining.

One huge flaw in the logic of the two groups in this study is that they do not consider the effect of having more college degrees in an area that is oversaturated. (Hint: look up the concept of supply and demand.)

A more relevant study would ask the question: “What happens when you allow tens of millions of third world invaders into your country, take resources away from producers and give to the nonproducers, and force production overseas?”

You don’t need a mail order Phd to figure that one out…

Attentive Parent

April 27th, 2012
8:43 am

Maureen’s link did not work for me.

Here’s the actual report which I have now read. It’s all about Credential Attainment, not knowledge and marketable skills. And that dashboard is just a wishful thinking computer model to justify more growing of the public sector. I would like to factor in an 8% annual return on my 401(k) over the next 10 years. I can factor that in and pretend but it will not then come true.

This is asking us taxpayers to fund this sector on just such a let’s pretend scenario where paper credentials are the gateway to jobs. Only in a centrally planned and managed economy and the track record for those is pretty abysmal in generating prosperity for the non-politically connected masses.

And page 4 shows the report is based on Carnevale’s work.

And Gates Foundation funding. Bringing us Common Core AND an emphasis on paper credentials.

I wonder if there is any connection? Would MS benefit if the creative destruction inherent to a free market, consumer-oriented economy became unlikely because few students have the requisite knowledge, skills, or attitudes?

Attentive minds have to wonder.

Dunwoody Mom

April 27th, 2012
8:44 am

Here’s a thought…quit raising tuition!!!!!

Being Censored by @Maureen

April 27th, 2012
8:44 am

Maybe if Georgia could raise its high school graduation rates and reduce the amount of remedial work that college professors have to do, not only in GA colleges/universities but in all of our nation’s colleges/universities, we might see results.

We need to fix K-12 before this even makes sense.

Georgia Educator

April 27th, 2012
9:07 am

If you want to improve college graduation rates, improve learning in K-12! We can only work with what we get. I have had (and still have) college freshmen who do not know what the following words mean: considerate, arbitrary, hypothetical.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

April 27th, 2012
9:11 am

Georgia Educator is correct.


April 27th, 2012
9:26 am

Maybe you uneducated bloggers should move to 3rd world countries where you may not need a college education to “eck” out a living. To live in today’s America, having a college education gives you a tremendous boost. Even athletes and rappers need to have smarts about business management. There are always exceptions and if you believe for one minute that this economic downturn will be the norm from this point forward, then you need to stop watching FOX News.


April 27th, 2012
9:40 am

I think that there are two “segments” that are going to go “mia” in the college “markets” in the next decade/decade and half that no one is paying any attention to right now…. the “professional middle class” and upper middle class is being “driven out” of being able to send their children to college because the costs keep escalating and they don’t qualify for any any of the programs (except for a very small number of merit programs, if their kids qualify, that are left) — the programs are for the “bottom” and for “minorities” — the middle is being lost. Secondly, I foresee a huge shortfall of doctors (many of whom could be coming from this “lost” middle) — everyone seems to be discussing the “heath care crisis” and what to do about it and how to make our system like this system or that system but no one is really scrutinizing the differences between how our system identifies and educates our physicians and how the systems we think we may want to emulate identify and educate theirs. The methods, I believe, are quite different. Further, you can’t just “make” a doctor overnight — it’s a 5-10 year process. So, who is going to operate on us 10-20 years from now? In my little, non-scientific survey of an inordinate number of very bright kids in my little part of the universe, I know about 4 kids who currently want to be doctors — I know 2 in med school. This doesn’t bode well for American society.


April 27th, 2012
9:47 am

Unless and until this state and country for that matter places priority on “learning” and not just watered down diplomas, we will reap what we are sowing. My school declares over the PA system this week that one of our seniors has been accepted by Gainesville State and Georgia Perimeter College. Really!? That’s what we have become? It is like popping the corks for performance on minimal standards testing. I am afraid our best days are behind us. When we demonize our energy, farming and forestry sectors at the altar of environmentalism, we will be hard pressed to feed and shelter ourselves.


April 27th, 2012
9:53 am


As long as a 28-year-old VP at Goldman Sachs makes more than most veteran surgeons, you aren’t going to attract the best and brightest to medicine.


April 27th, 2012
9:59 am

and, just to be redundant, this is where I’ve come to the conclusion that vouchers make the most sense for our future, particularly based on the pure level of dollars (multiple-billions) that we are spending and the long-term consequences of getting it wrong for so long.

Ron F.

April 27th, 2012
10:07 am

Canada beat us? The UK AND France? Don’t all these countries have some form of national healthcare? DANG, you mean places where they’d dare implement something so socialistic can have higher college grad rates? Dang liberals!

Seriously though, I do get tired of the comparison with Japan. A 95% homogenous society (which is suffering now from a low birth rate that will severly diminish the population in the next two generations)which has a very different view of education. Our diversity, which is one of the truly great things in our society, also costs us in these comparisons.

Don't Tread

April 27th, 2012
10:09 am

We have enough so-called “college graduates” that don’t have the common sense that God gave a house plant. I have to work with a bunch of these people – so-called “degreed professionals” who don’t have a clue.

We need FEWER degrees with the holders of those degrees actually competent in something.

Dekalb taxpayer

April 27th, 2012
11:38 am

A lot of on-target comments on this topic. You can’t take Georgia’s current crop of high school graduates and just make college grads out of them—not competent college grads anyway. The problem with the lack of college graduates is the same as the problem with the lack of high school grads and the lack of students who can read on level and do basic math in grades K through 12. It starts at birth.


April 27th, 2012
8:38 pm

EL — I’ve got one upstairs — the 800 math score sitting on a 98 or so in AP Biology — he would like to go Ivy League — he could possibly be “bribed” into medicine — he definitely has the aptitude — he’s a math and science kid all the way (his bedside manner needs help….) — its this type of kid we should be “enticing” into medicine — but no one is trying. He wants the Goldman Sachs job. If we take out the student loans for him to go somewhere like Wharton, he will need the Goldman Sachs job to pay them back.


April 27th, 2012
8:40 pm

And its the possiblity (real possiblity) of the Goldman Sachs job that makes thinking about Wharton and student loans not a really crazy idea… it’s a legitimate assessment.


April 27th, 2012
8:44 pm

My last 2 comments are something being left out of the dialog when people pit “rich” versus “poor” in the news … its the failure to understand the costs associated with the degrees that help the “upper middle” get to be “upper middle” that they (e.g. myself and my husband and others like us) spent a decade or more re-paying to get a chance to get on our feet to fail to qualify to our kids to pursue a similar education so that they can do it all again. There’s no significant 529 because we were paying our own loans back. It’s a cycle for the middle. I’m really not complaining just pointing this out — we could make him look at state schools or for merit money but we don’t want to limit him this way. So it’s a conscious decision. But the salaries then are to be commensurate with the degree — this goes for medicine as well if we, as a society, expect our children to pursue the career…. and we really need the brilliant children pursuing it as a career…..

N. GA Teacher

April 28th, 2012
12:18 am

The article is a bunch of hokum. Since the 1970s there have been TOO MANY college grads in the U.S. Most Ph.Ds in the social sciences and arts are tending bars or driving cabs. As other bloggers stated, two conditions have to be satisfied: first, both high school and college students have to have the motivation, work ethic and talent to EARN (not be “graduated” ) diplomas and degrees. Second, these credentials MUST be earned in employable areas such as computer technology, machine maintenance and repair, plumbing, restaurant management, medical science, agriculture,electronics,engineering, etc. Sorry, but there is little actual job availability in the traditional arts and sciences, and even most business degree areas. Last, there are ALWAYS possibilities for entrepeneurs with good ideas and financial backing.