2021 Educational Attainment Report

We have just released our 2021 North Carolina Educational Attainment report capturing the work of myFutureNC and the progress toward the state’s educational attainment goal of 2 million by 2030. Read the Executive Summary here.

As highlighted in the report, COVID has wreaked havoc on our education and workforce systems and has significantly impacted our student pipeline. Educational attainment is the path forward for North Carolina’s post-COVID recovery and the long-term resiliency plan for our State’s economy.

Although COVID has been a disrupter in so many ways, the 2 million by 2030 goal is more urgent than ever.  Perfection will not get in the way of progress so know that we remain laser focused on increasing educational attainment across North Carolina.

Download the Report

Measuring Our Progress

myFutureNC tracks the postsecondary attainment of North Carolinians ages 25-44, as well as performance from Pre-K to college and career.

Based on the most recent data available, in 2019 North Carolina had an estimated 1,450,249 adults 25-44 with a high-quality degree or credential; this is 44,000 below where the state needed to be at this time, to be on target to the 2 million by 2030 goal.

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A Note on Data Disruptions

myFutureNC is monitoring the pandemic impact on data across the education continuum, from Pre-K to career, with specific attention to the 18 educational attainment indicators shown on the myFutureNC state dashboard. There are delays in the availability of National Student Clearinghouse, 2020 Census, and American Community Survey data. Read more from our partner Carolina Demography.

Although COVID has presented various challenges, the data that is available clearly demonstrates that North Carolina is behind on key performance indicators that lead to increased educational attainment.

Available data shows:

The story remains the same but the urgency has elevated. Increased educational attainment is critical to North Carolina’s ability to meet the needs of our employers. And whatever challenges we had prior to Covid have been further compounded – particularly for our historically disadvantaged students.

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The Urgency for Increased Educational Attainment

The urgency of our work has only been elevated by the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, but we remain confident that our long-term strategies will be effective towards reaching our goal.

Increasing the number of postsecondary certificates, diplomas, and degrees remains essential to meeting the demands of North Carolina’s changing workforce.

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The Leaky Pipeline: North Carolina is Leaving Too Many Students Behind

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Our Focus

To close the education attainment gap in North Carolina by 2030, our state must ensure that students have the information, resources, and opportunities they need to prepare for, enroll in, and succeed in college and credentialing opportunities that align with business and industry needs.

Our progress will be strengthened by additional attention to two key, cross-goal foundations for success: broadband access, affordability, and adoption; and analysis of attainment data.

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Closing the Attainment Gap

To ensure North Carolina remains economically competitive now and into the future, increasing the levels of education after high school for all individuals, but especially first-generation students, students from low-income backgrounds, and Black, Hispanic/Latinx and Native American students, is essential.

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Our Advocacy and Actions

We put goals into action by making policy recommendations and committing to and advocating for strategies to close the educational attainment gap. The alarming trend of students not transitioning from high school to postsecondary education comes at a time when a college degree or credential is a key level to economic mobility. We recognize this is a state-led, yet locally driven effort and helping students find their way now is critical to long-term opportunity and prosperity for both the student and North Carolina.

Learn more about our work and recommended legislative actions.

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The myFutureNC 2021 North Carolina Educational Attainment report has been released to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly pursuant to Session Law 2019-55 House Bill 664 Section 1. (c) as provided by GS. 12-29.5. capturing the work of myFutureNC and the progress toward the state’s educational attainment goal of 2 million by 2030. Download the report here.