Missouri's Big Goal for Higher Education
By 2020, approximately 66 percent of all jobs in Missouri will require some form of higher education.
In 2011, the state set a big goal, for 60 percent of working-age adults in Missouri to have a certificate or degree by 2025.
Missouri is making progress toward meeting this goal. In 2018, the midpoint of this timeline, the state is sitting at 52.6 percent.
Since 2011, 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 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 2017 than they did in 2011, and on the whole the
number of students graduating from Missouri colleges and universities has increased by about 15 percent
from 2011 to 2017. The largest increases have occurred at community and technical colleges, which graduated 24 percent more students in 2017 than 2011, and public universities, which graduated 21 percent more students in the same time period. Private institutions’ graduation numbers increased as well, with the total number increasing 9 percent between 2011 and 2017.
In addition to increasing the raw number of graduates, many institutions have made significant advances in
improving graduation rates.