How does Mississippi rank compared to the national average?
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The college attainment rate in Mississippi is substantially lower than the U.S. average, due in large part to low high school graduation and postsecondary completion rates. Only 60% of entering ninth grade students graduate high school on time, and roughly 15% complete a college credential. While labor market demand might provide an apparent disincentive for attending college, it is important to acknowledge that a college credential produces a wage premium. Further, those students and adults that pursue bachelor’s and graduate degrees in STEM, health care, education and management should expect to receive an appreciably higher wage.
Residents, especially college graduates, are leaving the state in large numbers. This development, combined with low overall degree attainment, could have further negative impacts on the economy.
Boosting College Completion has produced a comprehensive 50-state legislative database related to college completion and workforce development. The database will grow as we continue to collect and analyze policies.
Highlights of Mississippi’s policies:
Check out the BCC database for a more complete summary of Mississippi’s policies. Click on the Menu arrow for additional options, such as printing the summary.
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Boosting College Completion has developed a policy profile for Mississippi based on an analysis of data and policies related to college completion and workforce development.
A succession of legislative task forces has assisted policymakers in shaping state postsecondary strategies in Mississippi. House Bill 488 (2009) created the Graduation Rate Task Force, which studied how to improve student outcomes at state postsecondary institutions. The task force issued a report which indicated eight factors that could impact improvement. The factors fall into three main categories:
The task force suggested that a long-term goal for raising educational attainment should focus attention on strategies to increase degree completion rates. Among the strategies are: common course frameworks for developmental education at community colleges and transfer and articulation agreements between community colleges and public universities. However, the task force found that variations in the application of these standards and frameworks complicate the state’s ability to improve retention and completion rates. Further, the report revealed that enrollment-based funding produces a system where innovation is not rewarded.
The task force recommended the creation of an Education Achievement Council that would develop benchmarks to measure progress toward the goal of increasing degree attainment of Mississippi’s working age population to the national average by 2025. House Bill 1071 (2010) created the council and House Bill 875 (2011) directed the council to examine the feasibility of basing a portion of funding on performance metrics.
To achieve this ambitious goal, state policymakers might consider:
News & Updates
Sen. Perry Lee, Chair, Universities and Colleges
Rep. Kelvin Buck, Chair, Universities and Colleges
Sen. Videt Carmichael, Chair, Education Committee
Rep. Cecil Brown, Chair, Education Committee
Mississippi is participating in the following national initiatives that are related to college completion and workforce development:
American Diploma Project (ADP)
Common Core Standards Initiative
Complete College America (CCA)
PARCC Assessment Consortium