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December 23, 2019

Percentage of Missourians with certificates and degrees increases

Several institutions see 10 percent increase in graduation rates


Missouri has been working toward a “Big Goal” of having 60 percent of working-age adults hold a high-quality certificate or degree by 2025. The state has seen a consistent increase in the percentage since the big goal was initially adopted in 2011. According to estimates based on the U.S. Census and wage data, 53.7 percent of Missourians have a college degree or certificate – an increase from 48.9 percent in 2011, and a slight increase from 52.6 during last year’s midpoint status update.

“More students who start college are working hard and completing their degrees,” said Zora Mulligan, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “Several institutions are breaking down barriers to degree completion and those efforts are making a significant advance in improving graduation rates.”

Despite a decline in the number of high school graduates across the state, many higher education institutions are graduating more students. Overall, the number of students graduating from Missouri colleges and universities has increased by about 15 percent since 2011. The largest increases have occurred at community and technical colleges, which graduated 26 percent more students in 2018 than in 2011, and public universities, which have graduated 18.6 percent more students in the same period. Private institutions’ graduation numbers saw a slight increase as well, with the total number increasing 0.6 percent between 2011 and 2018.

Five higher education institutions have increased graduation rates by more than 10 percentage points since 2011; Fontbonne University, Saint Louis University, State Technical College, College of the Ozarks, and Ozarks Technical Community College. Seventeen other institutions have seen at least a five percent increase.

A notable impact on Missouri’s minority population has also been made since 2011, with certificate and degree completion up 38.1 percent since 2011.

“We will continue to monitor our progress toward the Big Goal as we look for more opportunities to help Missourians get on a path to education,” Mulligan said.

Download the “Big Goal” infographic and find more information here: https://dhewd.mo.gov/initiatives/MissourisBigGoal.php.  


About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.