Michigan’s College Attainment Rate Increases for the Eighth Year in a Row

Lumina Foundation releases report highlighting increase to 45 percent.

Feb. 20, 2019 - LANSING, MICH. – Michigan’s college attainment rate has increased to its highest rate ever, with 45 percent of Michigan residents aged 25 to 64 years old holding a degree or certificate, according to new census data released by the Lumina Foundation. 

In its 2019 report, “A Stronger Nation,” the foundation reported that Michigan’s degree attainment rate increased for the eighth year in a row.

“We’re thrilled to see the number of Michigan residents with a high-quality credential beyond high school continue to increase,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). “The most recent Stronger Nation report, coupled with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pledge to make postsecondary educational attainment a priority for all Michigan residents, makes us even more committed to reaching our goal of having 60 percent of Michigan residents hold a degree or postsecondary certificate.”

The Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education, began reporting the attainment rate — which includes associate degrees and higher — in 2008. That year, the rate in Michigan stood at 35.7 percent. In 2018, that rate rose to 41 percent. The report estimates that 4 percent of Michigan residents between the ages of 25 and 64 hold a high-quality certificate, which brings the state’s overall postsecondary attainment rate to 45 percent.

MCAN is working to increase college readiness, enrollment, and completion rates in the state of Michigan. In eight years, MCAN has:

  • Created and supported nearly 30 local college access networks that are increasing college participation and completion rates
  • Established AdviseMI, an innovative program to place recent college graduates directly in high schools across the state to provide direct support for the college and financial application process, focusing on helping low-income and first-generation college-going students.
  • Trained more than 500 school counselors on how to be effective college counselors and postsecondary planning specialists.
  • Developed public awareness and outreach campaigns to assist students and families applying for federal student aid, including College Decision Day, the Michigan College Cash Campaign, Michigan College Month, and the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative.
  • Spearheaded advocacy efforts including an annual advocacy day to meet with state legislators, advocate for postsecondary education and highlight the work being done to increase Michigan’s degree-attainment rate.
  • Released the Total Talent report in partnership with MIHEART that lays out Michigan’s progress and accomplishments to date, while simultaneously offering a call to action and a “total talent” state agenda to ensure that all Michigan residents get the education and skills they need to succeed in a knowledge-based economy.

To view the complete report, click here. To view the Michigan brief, click here.


About Michigan College Access Network 

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.