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Exploring postsecondary attainment: A stronger nation

The myFutureNC Commission is a statewide education commission focusing on educational attainment for all North Carolinians. This week, we will be highlighting findings from the myFutureNC Commission policy briefs on postsecondary attainment.

In 2009, the Lumina Foundation announced a national postsecondary attainment goal of 60 percent by 2025. Since then, they have worked with states to establish their own attainment goals, publishing an attainment overview of each state. The North Carolina attainment report, embedded below, highlights important trends and opportunities. 

North Carolina’s postsecondary attainment is roughly equal to the national average. In North Carolina, 45.9 percent of adults have some postsecondary attainment compared to the national average of 45.8 percent. Since 2008, the state’s attainment rate has increased nine percentage points, from 36.9 percent to 45.9 percent.

Courtesy of the myFutureNC Commission

There are large attainment gaps between North Carolina’s counties. Orange, Wake, and Durham counties top the list with attainment rates of 64.7 percent, 59.6 percent, and 53.5 percent, respectively. Tyrell, Hyde, and Anson counties have the lowest rate of attainment at 13.2 percent, 16 percent, and 17.6 percent, respectively. View the attainment rates for every county on pages three through five in the report below. 

North Carolina also has racial and ethnic gaps in attainment rates. The graphic below compares attainment rates for racial and ethnic groups in North Carolina and five surrounding states. In North Carolina, Hispanics have the lowest attainment rate, followed by American Indians and African-Americans. Asian and Pacific Islanders have the highest attainment rate.

Courtesy of the myFutureNC Commission

Read more in the report below. 

Molly Osborne Urquhart

Molly Osborne is the vice president and Chief Operating Officer for EducationNC.