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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

PA nears 60% college degree attainment goal, but work remains

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Monday, February 12, 2024   

Pennsylvania lags only slightly behind national figures for the number of working-age adults who have earned college degrees or other professional certifications after high school.

New data from Lumina Foundation tracks degree attainment and the group's benchmark is 60% of working-age adults should be earning some kind of post-high school degree by the year 2025. Right now, the number is over 53% in the Keystone State and just over 54% nationwide.

Courtney Brown, vice president of strategic impact and planning for Lumina Foundation, said the research showed the nation is making steady progress toward the 60% goal.

"We moved from 38.1% when we began, to 54.3%," Brown reported. "That represents a 16 percentage point increase in just 14 years. And that's, you know, a collective commitment and dedication to education from partners all across the country."

Brown added 42 states along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, saw an uptick in degree attainment last year. The increase was more than 1% in 19 states, including Pennsylvania.

Brown pointed out Lumina has expanded what counts toward its post-high-school attainment goal, adding workforce certificates in 2014, and industry certifications in 2018. She noted all types of higher-ed attainment have increased.

"Some of the increase over the last 14 years -- that 16 percentage points -- some of that is attributed to finding a way to measure and then add high-quality short-term credentials," Brown emphasized. "But a substantial portion -- about 8.5 percentage points -- is a rise in the attainment of bachelor and associate degrees."

However, the research said more can be done to close the equity gap, in the Keystone State and across the country. The report showed more than 50% of white Pennsylvanians have college degrees, compared to more than 32% of Black residents and almost 30% of Hispanic residents.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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