Mind the Gap: Delivering on California’s Promise for Higher Education

In 2012 California Competes called for the state to articulate specific degree attainment goals to advance our regional economies and local communities.  In this new report, Mind the Gap: Delivering on California’s Promise for Higher Education, California Competes finds that the state now faces a degree attainment gap of 2.4 million by 2025.

This figure, which is a 100,000 degree increase from California Competes’ 2012 analysis, presents a significant challenge to the state that becomes even more pressing when one looks at the disparities underneath the total, at who completes degrees and where. With three fewer years to address the shortage, the situation has become more dire; it would take increases in the number of degrees of nearly 10 percent per year, every year, to close the 2.4 million degree gap by 2025. The state must take an active, prescriptive role in higher education to help alleviate the gap and underlying inequities and, ultimately, remain economically competitive.

In addition to presenting updated data on the degree attainment gap, the report explores trends and changes in bachelor’s degrees and sub-baccalaureate degrees over the last decade. The report also examines the top producers of specific degrees as well as how the various segments (including the UC, CSU, etc.) in higher education look by race and ethnicity. The report concludes with a set of policy recommendations that seek to address the gap by promoting access and equity for students in the context of a state higher education public agenda.