The March 23 article titled “Indiana’s Higher Education Achievement Results Mixed” highlights Indiana’s efforts to increase the number of Hoosiers with education beyond high school. J.K. Wall’s analysis also makes clear the need for sustained urgency if we hope to reach the goal of 60 percent of all Hoosiers with a quality college degree or credential.
Indiana has tremendous ground to cover to meet this goal. About 34 percent of adult Hoosiers hold a two- or four-year degree. Our state ranks 40th in educational attainment beyond high school.
Yet, Indiana’s efforts to improve these numbers—such as performance funding for colleges and student financial aid incentives—are paying off by nearly every measure. We are seeing steady improvements in overall degree completion, on-time degree completion, college readiness and at-risk degree completion.
At the Commission for Higher Education, we are focused on increasing success rates of all Indiana college students, from recent high school graduates to returning adults. For that reason, it’s important to provide additional context on the young adult age group highlighted in the article.
In its 2014 “A Stronger Nation” report, Lumina Foundation found that higher education attainment among 25- to 34-year-olds was 38.3 percent in 2012, which is greater than Indiana’s adult population as a whole. In fact, Indiana’s young adult age group is closer to their national peers than our overall adult population.
Further, a three-year look at educational attainment for this young adult group, a more stable and accurate depiction than single-year changes, shows sustained growth. This group achieved a 4.7-percent increase in degree attainment from 2009-2011 to 2011-2013.
Much work remains to ensure more Hoosiers are prepared to grow and drive our future economy, but we are making impressive gains toward meeting our goals. If we maintain our momentum, we will achieve a better future for all students and employers—and better standing nationally.
Teresa Lubbers, commissioner
Indiana Commission for Higher Education