Why Attainment Still Matters 

This post was originally published here.

How increasing the education levels in Arizona benefits all 

In Arizona we have an important goal for educational attainment. The Achieve60AZ attainment goal is for 60% of Arizona adults to attain a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030.  

Achieve60AZ began more than five years ago, comprised of a broad community alliance of more than 150 Arizona organizations coming together on the attainment goal. These community leaders understood that in order for Arizona to remain economically competitive, we must advance educational attainment. 

According to the Arizona Education Progress Meter, Arizona is currently at 46%, an increase of only four percentage points since 2016, when the measurement began, and the pandemic has further hindered our progress. Now with less than eight years until 2030, we have a great deal of work to do to reach our goal. We know, however, that achieving our state’s attainment goal will positively affect the quality of life for all Arizonans.

Attainment Opens Doors to Good Jobs 

College degrees are a required first step for many in-demand and growing jobs, including teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers and more. A postsecondary degree also provides access to better-paying jobs. Adults with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $2.8 million during their careers, $1.2 million more than the median for workers with a high school diploma. At every additional level of education, workers tend to earn more than those with less education.

Attainment Increases Community Involvement 

A college degree doesn’t appear to just prepare students for future careers, it also correlates to more civic engagement and community involvement.

College graduates are about twice as likely to volunteer in their communities or attend a community meeting. They are also more likely to vote.

Attainment Reduces Crime & Reliance on Government Assistance 

College graduates are considerably less reliant on government programs and services including Medicaid, housing subsidies, nutrition assistance, unemployment benefits, and other public assistance.

Increased attainment has also been tied to substantially reduced rates of criminality and spending on corrections. Adults who graduated college are nearly five times less likely to be imprisoned.

Attainment Grows Local Economies 

A greater attainment rate can also help local economies thrive by adding billions of dollars to our local economy.

The average bachelor’s degree holder spends about $278,000 more in their local economies than the average high graduate spending during their lifetime.

By meeting the 60% attainment goal, Arizona would benefit from increased tax revenues and decreased government spending.

What It Will Take to Increase Attainment in Arizona 

Reaching the Achieve60AZ goal has the potential to create a better Arizona for us all—from lifting more families out of poverty, to reducing crime and welfare dependence and improving our local economies. 

Education Forward Arizona is committed to working towards the Achieve60AZ goal by improving postsecondary entry and completion through advocacy and our programs and services that include the Arizona College Access Network (AzCAN) , College Knowing & Going, AdviseAZ, Ask Benji, scholarships and Success Services.  

There are many paths to attainment—including Arizona’s public community colleges and universities—and we believe they all play a role in reaching the Achieve60AZ goal. 

Our state has made strides to help make college more affordable for low-income students through the Arizona Promise Program, but there is more work to be done. 

Recently we have begun to reconvene community partners across the state to determine what it will take to reach the Achieve60AZ goal by 2030.

Achieving this goal will require continued community support and collaboration and we look forward to working with our partners and sharing our progress with you. 

The post Why Attainment Still Matters  appeared first on Education Forward Arizona.