Current college students can rest assured they are on the right path with their decision to pursue higher education. A November 5 report from Pew Research Center revealed that record shares of young adults are not only completing high school, but going to college and graduating with a degree.
The report indicated that in 2012 and for the first time ever, one-third of the country’s 25- to 29-year-olds have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.
“These across-the-board increases have occurred despite dramatic immigration-driven changes in the racial and ethnic composition of college-age young adults, a trend that had led some experts to expect a decline in educational attainments,” the source reported.
Pew Research Center analyzed newly available census data to arrive at its conclusions. The report found that the key demographic groups that observed record levels of college completion are: men and women; blacks, whites and Hispanics; and foreign-born and native-born Americans. Another significant finding of the report is that 90 percent of the national population ages 25 to 29 has completed at least a high school education. Sixty-three percent has finished at least some college.
In an article from USA Today, student and writer Mary Beth Marklein commented that the report’s gains are a positive sign for the U.S. workforce and economy. Marklein also cited numerous public opinion polls that suggest that an increasing number of Americans view higher education as necessary rather than optional.
This study has drawn an increased amount of attention to the quality of education that college students are receiving. In order for the United States to maintain its competitive position as a global leader in higher education, some experts indicated in Pew Research Center surveys that more focus needs to be given to education quality, preparedness and study habits of college students.
“An increase in the number of college degree-holders is meaningless if students don’t learn very much,” said Mark Schneider, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, to USA Today. “It’s easy to graduate more people, but we also need to make sure we’re giving them a quality education.”
A quality college education can provide young adults with the necessary skills to become competitive in the job market, realize individual goals and potential and receive a higher quality of life.