AN AMBITIOUS GOAL: DOUBLE THE NUMBERS
Reaching an educational attainment level of 60% will require Louisiana to more than double the number of annual credential recipients, from approximately 40,000 in 2018 to 85,000 by 2030. The status quo over recent years has yielded annual growth in credentials hovering around one percent. If our current trend continues, attainment in Louisiana will be at approximately 48% by 2030, far short of our 60% goal and the talent needs of our state. That means continuing to offer postsecondary opportunities ‘the way we always have’ or relying on demographic changes to ‘fix’ the problem will not be sufficient.
To double the numbers by 2030 requires that we expand our thinking about talent and the tools by which talent is developed. It will demand that Louisiana postsecondary education and its partners try new approaches, disrupt the status quo, implement new strategies for all potential student populations, enable all students to participate, and emphasize re-engagement of working-age adults.
Public and private postsecondary institutions must lead this work through a unified and collaborative statewide effort. Currently, Louisiana’s public postsecondary campuses annually produce approximately 77% of credentials conferred, with the remaining 23% produced by private institutions. To maximize paths for students to pursue and earn meaningful credentials, both sectors must engage to remove existing barriers to success and increase completers. PK-12 and business and industry are critical partners, representing the preparation and outcomes ends of the pipeline, with postsecondary education as the gateway between them.
Students, regardless of family income, age, race, or place, must succeed at levels significantly higher than projections based on current trends to achieve the 60% attainment goal. And the goal is broader than simply reaching the percentage; it also encompasses achieving the right mix of credentials – high-value certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees – to meet Louisiana’s needs.
Within these significant increases in attainment, we must sharply focus on achieving equity. The attainment goal, which requires producing 45,000 more credentials in 2030 than were produced in 2017, is predicated on significant growth in credentials across all student populations. Producing the result for white residents requires a minimal growth of 4% over projections of credential production based on current trend. Increases for African American residents must be more ambitious, with 23% more credentials needed than current trends indicate will be produced. Reaching our goal, therefore, requires deep attention to achieving equity – engaging underserved populations, understanding barriers, and implementing strategies that increase access and success.
The significance of this work is evident: reaching our 60% attainment goal, and ensuring all populations are included in this growth, will yield profound benefits to the state and our citizens. According to National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), based on 2015 data, getting to the goal in 2030 will lead to an extra $5,414 in cumulative personal income per capita and yield a significant increase in state revenues over the fifteen-year timeframe. This includes an estimated additional $794.8 million in income taxes, $535.1 million in sales taxes, and $611.3 million in property taxes, as well as further savings projections of $1.26 billion in Medicaid costs and $206.2 million in corrections costs. The state, then, is projected to see more than $3.4 billion in new revenues and cost savings by 2030 as a direct result of a more and better educated population.