Missouri's Big Goal for Higher Education
As more jobs require continued education beyond high school, Missouri is working toward an increase in the percentage of Missourians with a certificate or degree to help meet workforce needs. In 2011, the state set a big goal for 60 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) in Missouri to have a certificate or degree by 2025.
Missouri is making progress toward meeting this goal. In 2019, 52.8 percent of Missourians held a high quality certificate or degree.
Missouri’s higher education institutions have increased efforts to improve completion rates for all students, both independently and in partnership with the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development and other organizations. Much of this work takes significant time to show measurable impact on graduation rates.
Several factors drive this measure, including in- and out-migration, an aging population, a decline in the number of high school graduates and college enrollment, and changes in postsecondary completion rates. Many institutions, however, graduated more students in 2019 than they did in 2014, and overall the number of students graduating from Missouri colleges and universities has increased by about 4 percent from 2014 to 2019. The largest increases have occurred at public universities, which graduated 13.6 percent more students in 2019 than 2014, and community colleges, which graduated 8.8 percent more students in the same time period.
Many institutions have made significant advances in improving graduation rates. Seven public and comprehensive independent institutions have increased graduation rates by more than 10 percentage points in the last five years: The University of Missouri-St. Louis, Culver-Stockton College, Park University, East Central College, State Fair Community College, State Technical College of Missouri, and Three Rivers College.
Twenty other schools have seen increases of at least five percentage points in the same time period, including: Avila University, College of the Ozarks, Crowder College, Evangel University, Fontbonne University, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Harris-Stowe State University, Jefferson College, Maryville University of Saint Louis, Metropolitan Community College, Mineral Area College, Missouri State University-West Plains, Moberly Area Community College, North Central Missouri College, Ozarks Technical Community College, Rockhurst University, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis University, St. Charles Community College, and William Woods University.
Minority and underrepresented population graduation rates have also improved statewide over the past five years, with a 22.4 percent increase.
Read more about the Big Goal in the December 2020 Board Book item.