More College Degrees

What is it?

California has slipped as an economic leader because our colleges, universities and trade schools are not producing enough highly skilled graduates. Among the states, California ranks 23rd in terms of the proportion of adults ages 25 to 64 with an associate’s degree or above. Whether they are traditional bachelor’s degrees, certificates in technical fields, or advanced training, the postsecondary credentials held by our population fuel our regional economies today and serve as an indicator of California’s preparation for the future. To better align public policies to our higher education needs, the state must establish goals for postsecondary credentials and monitor progress toward the goals.

Why is it important?

The best way for California to secure its future is to develop the talent and productivity of our citizens. Our colleges, universities and professional training programs have provided the intellectual and technical know-how to make California a hub of innovation and job creation. To restore California to national and international prominence as a producer of high-quality college graduates, the state needs to increase college degree and certificate production by 2.4 million more than currently projected by 2025. Achieving that goal is not likely unless policy makers engage in a concerted effort at the behest of students, their families and taxpayers.

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Prize Money for California Colleges to Think Different(ly)

California is putting up $50 million in prize money for creative ideas aimed at improving transfer and increasing bachelor degree attainment at the state’s public universities and community colleges. To prompt discussion of possible innovations and to encourage colleges to use this opportunity to think creatively, on Facebook and Twitter we will be sharing a wide variety of ideas.

Update: Educating Julio and Unmet Need

Incentives for community colleges to reach out to the poor, and to serve them well. Our report, Educating Julio, explained how the community college system selects the students who will be served not only by...

Contemplating College Affordability

Few question the critical role that college affordability plays in promoting or inhibiting college access and success. Whether a student’s college choice is affordable can make the difference between whether the student attends or not, and whether he or she completes. To try to make the concept of affordability more concrete, we have built a calculator that provides students with useful (even if not simple) information about the affordability of their college choices, incorporating as many factors as we could.

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Related Press Releases

Press Release: California Competes calls for 2.3 million more completions by 2025

For Release: June 7, 2012 California Competes is pleased to share with you our Council's report, The Road Ahead: Higher Education, California's Promise, and Our Future Economy. Before reading the report, take a look at our Press...

Press Release: Business Executives and Mayors to Focus on California’s Economy and Lack of Skilled Grads

For release June 22, 2011 Contact: Remmert Dekker (415) 343-0830 To view the full press release, click here. To view a list of our council members, click...

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Related Reports

Educating Julio

Educating Julio: Identifying & Addressing Community Colleges' 'Unmet Need'

Our report, Educating Julio, examines strategies for growing our community college enrollment and describes some of the dynamics of community college enrollment that underlie the debate about how “unmet need” should be defined, identified, and addressed.


The Road Ahead:
Higher education, California's promise, and our future economy

California Competes is pleased to share with you our new report, The Road Ahead: Higher education, California’s promise, and our future economy

Download the Full Report (pdf)

Executive Summary (pdf)


Credential Crunch:
How to Regain California's Economic Standing

This brief lays out how California can get to its goal of 5.5 million additional graduates by 2025 while ensuring that degrees and certificates conferred are meaningful. Download Credential Crunch

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Related Events

Lande Ajose testimony

Lande Ajose testifies at Senate Education & Budget joint hearing on accountability in higher ed

Dr. Ajose testified at a Senate Education and Budget joint hearing on accountability for postsecondary education performance which provided a framework for informing state budget and policy to meet public needs. She presented the breakdown of California’s degree attainment gap by race and region and spoke on these issues from a workforce perspective.

Charles Hatcher discusses persistence and graduation rates for Pell grant recipients at UCs

In an effort to better understand persistence and graduation rates for Pell grant recipients, California Competes has partnered with the University of California’s Office of the President to analyze persistence and completion rates of the 37,461 freshmen who entered the UC system in the fall of 2006.

Streamlining transfer in public higher education

Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing on streamlining transfer in public higher education

Today Dr. Ajose testified at the Assembly Higher Education Committee’s hearing on streamlining transfer in public higher education. She discussed the need for more coordinated leadership in higher education, and previewed our upcoming analysis of how community college enrollment varies across the state.

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