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Higher Education Coordination Commission

Oregon’s Educational Attainment Goals

In an effort to dramatically increase the number of Oregonians who complete high school or college-level credentials, the State of Oregon has developed two high-reaching goals. These goals drive many Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) initiatives and strategies. We encourage partners to learn about the goals and join us in working to achieve them.

Why Does Oregon Have State Education Goals?

HECC decisions about programs, funding, and policy statewide are all guided by state educational attainment goals. These goals are rooted in the strong benefits and transformational potential of higher education and workforce training for Oregon and Oregonians. 

Higher levels of education are tied to higher wages, lower unemployment, more civic and community engagement, and greater economic mobility, among many other benefits. Oregon has growing opportunities for family-wage careers in fields that require education and training beyond high school, and Oregon businesses need a skilled workforce. Educational attainment goals guide our collective work to ensure that young Oregonians have equitable opportunities to build trajectories to family-wage careers, reach their highest potential, and help communities thrive. They guide efforts to ensure adults have the financial stability and opportunity that more education and training can provide. And they guide efforts to foster the talent and innovation that help foster strong economies and vibrant communities. 

The benefits of higher education and training remain strong, but these benefits are not experienced equitably by all. By putting a spotlight on equity and opportunity gaps, the State aims to advance the education of those who are less likely to earn educational credentials today. In our work to achieve the state goals, the HECC applies an Equity Lens to our policy and funding activity.

Learn about the HECC Equity Lens.

Oregon’s Educational Attainment Goals

Oregon has two goals to addressed these needs, one focused on young adults served recently by the education system, and one focused on adults in the workforce. The 40-40-20 goal is one of the highest-reaching state goals for education in the country.  

Read a short summary of the educational attainment goals.

Oregon’s 40-40-20 Education Goal

The Goal: By 2025, 40 percent of young adult Oregonians will complete a four-year degree or more, 40 percent will complete a two-year degree or short-term career certificate, and the remaining 20 percent will earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

The 40-40-20 goal applies to young Oregonians rising through the education system. In 2011, the State of Oregon enacted legislation (Oregon Resvised Statute 350.014) that created this aspirational goal for Oregon’s educational achievement. With legislation passed in 2017 and effective in January 2018, Oregon clarified the goal to focus it strategically on young Oregonians.

Progress Toward Goal

The data on Oregon’s progress toward the 40-40-20 goal is reported in the HECC Key Performance Measures (KPMs), specifically in measure number four. In addition to the overall results for all Oregonians, we report on educational attainment by race/ethnicity in the summary presentation on the page below.

Find progress on the 40-40-20 goal in the KPM Report and Summary.

Oregon’s Adult Education and Training Goal

The Goal: Between 2020 and 2030, 300,000 adult Oregonians will earn a new degree, certificate, or other credential of value. Oregon will reduce the adult educational attainment gaps by half for underserved people of color, low-income learners, and rural learners during this time.

This goal applies to Oregon working adults, ages 26-64. To achieve this goal, Oregon must train and educate many more adults, particularly underserved populations, to earn over 100,000 new credentials on top of the credentials we expect them to earn by 2030.

As directed by 2017 legislation, the HECC worked with the Oregon Workforce Talent and Development Board and partners to develop this new goal, and it was approved in November 2018. 

Progress Toward Goal

Data on progress toward the Adult Education and Training Goal is summarized in a recent report.

Read the latest research brief on Oregon’s Adult Attainment Goal.