Minnesota is one of the most educated states in the country, across all age groups. Minnesota ranked second nationally among all states in the percent of adults age 25 to 64 with at least an associate degree. However, Minnesota faces significant gaps in educational attainment by race and ethnicity.
The populations growing the fastest have historically not been adequately served within Minnesota's educational system. The state's changing demographic profile requires the state begin reducing these gaps to ensure economic prosperity for all. Minnesota Needs to Increase Access to Degrees That Open Doors.
Minnesota's faces significant disparities existing in educational attainment by race and ethnicity. Few Minnesotans of color attain a degree.
Educational Disparities Infographic
Educational Disparities Infographic
Given the educational challenge Minnesota faces, the 2015 Minnesota Legislature enacted legislation setting a target that 70 percent of Minnesota adults age 25 to 44 will have attained a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025. Before that data could be measured, Minnesota needed to determine the current percent of the population age 25 to 44 with a certificate or higher by race and ethnicity.
Educating for the Future: Baseline Estimates of Minnesota's Educational Attainment was prepared by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota State Demographic Center to establish methods to estimate current data to understand the gaps faced. The second report, Education for the Future Policy Guide, is an update to the first report and contains levers policymakers can use to help increase educational attainment.
Minnesota's Estimated Population Age 25 to 44 with a Certificate or Higher Credential, by Basic Race and Ethnicity Categories, 2010-2014
Source: IPUMS microdata version of U.S. Census Bureau 2010-2014 American Community Survey for Associate's or Higher Degree, with tabulations by the MN State Demographic Center.
In order to meet the educational attainment goal of 70 percent for all racial and ethnic groups, Minnesota needs an estimated 143,900 additional individuals age 25 to 44 to complete their first educational credential (certificate or degree). By 2025, this number will grow as Minnesota's population grows (assuming current rates of mortality, migration, and postsecondary completion).
Increase Needed of Minnesotans Age 25-44 with Postsecondary Certificates or Degrees to Attain 70% Goal by 2025, Basic Race/Ethnicity Groups, 2010-2014
Source: IPUMS microdata version of U.S. Census Bureau 2010-2014 American Community Survey for Associate's or Higher Degree, with tabulations and additional analysis by the MN State Demographic Center.
In 2015 Governor Dayton proposed and signed into law, The Equity in Attainment and Job Connection Grant Program, providing funding for proposals focused on improving postsecondary success and employment outcomes for students historically underrepresented in higher education. Three Minnesota State institutions have been awarded funding for programs designed to help more students of color complete a postsecondary education and find a job.
Saint Paul College: "Guided Pathways Advising at Saint Paul College"
Riverland Community College, Austin: "Closing the Achievement Gap by Improving Retention and Completion"
Minnesota State University, Mankato: "Guiding Pathways to Success (GPS) for Underrepresented Students"
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has created a working group of state leaders to address these ongoing inequities. For more information contact:
Shaun Williams-Wyche, Research Analyst, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 651-259-3967.