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Education is the fundamental building block of vibrant communities, civically engaged citizenry, and prosperous regional economies. The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is committed to building a future that provides equitable access to postsecondary education.

In 2014, the Legislature adopted statewide goals to increase educational attainment, that by 2023:

  • All adults in Washington, ages 25-44, will have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • At least 70 percent of Washington adults, ages 25-44, will have a postsecondary credential.

WSAC proposed these goals in the 2013 Roadmap Report. The Council collaborated with policymakers, education leaders, and industry representatives from all regions of the state to develop the goals, based on workforce demand.

Since 2014, the attainment goals have served as a unifying purpose for partners from education, industry, and communities to bring a renewed focus and energy to the challenge of connecting youth and adults to college and career opportunities.

These data dashboards highlights progress toward meeting the state’s goals, the challenges we face as a state, and current strategies to increase attainment.  

Educational Attainment Dashboards

Progress on Overall Educational Attainment Goals and Attainment by Race and Ethnicity

Educational attainment varies by Race and Ethnicity. Among Washington residents aged 25-44 years old, the Hispanic/Latino subgroup shows the largest gap in educational attainment compared to the average attainment of the population age 25-44. This is the state’s second largest racial/ethnic group. This profound difference in high school completion ripples throughout the higher degree categories.

Sources: WSAC Analysis of One-Year American Community Survey data, U.S. Census (April 2019); Dropout and Graduation Reports, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (January 2019); IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2018); IPEDS Completions, survey A data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2018). 

Educational Attainment: Beginning in 2019, educational attainment is measured using one-year American Community Survey (ACS) data from the United States Census Burea. In prior years, WSAC used both the five-year and three-year (now discontinued) data. While the 5-year estimates provide a larger sample, they are not recommended for year to year trends and also are released later than the one-year files. 

Certificate attainment estimates in 2019 are calculated by taking the percentage of the ACS population with a postsecondary degree and adding 7 percent, the calculation for Washington State in the 2018 Lumina Foundation's A Stronger Nation report. Prior Roadmap reports used an estimate of 7.4 percent, which yielded an attainment estimate of 50 percent in 2011. Using that same factor produces an estimate of 51.2 percent for the 2015 report and 52.5 percent for the 2017 report.