January 8, 2012

Washington is one of the top-ranked states in the nation in the share of students who graduate from public four-year institutions within six years of enrolling. But this statistic masks the fact that Washington lags behind most other states in the total number of bachelor’s degrees produced per capita. And although Washington ranks 11th in the nation in the percentage of adults who have earned at least an associate’s degree, the state’s success in this area stems from its ability to attract well-educated residents from other states and countries, who help to raise the level of education of the state population as a whole.

To reach the level of educational attainment of top-performing states and countries, Washington must increase educational attainment, particularly among younger residents. Washington also needs to improve higher education to meet workforce demands. The state’s economy is one of the most technology-intensive in the nation. By 2018, 67% of all jobs in Washington are projected to require workers to have at least some postsecondary education or training.


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