Goal 2025

St. Louis Graduates has adopted Goal 2025: 60% of adults in the St. Louis region will have a postsecondary degree by 2025.

Why Degree Completion Is Important

  • Adults with degrees earn more. In the St. Louis region, an adult with a bachelor’s degree has median earnings 77% higher than an adult with a high school diploma alone. And adults with some college or an Associate's degree have earnings 23% higher.
  • More jobs require a postsecondary degree. By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in MIssouri and Illinois will require some form of postsecondary education.
  • People with a postsecondary degree are less likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
  • Greater education levels make for a stronger regional economy. Nationally, the metropolitan areas among the top 10 in degree completion are also the top 10 in median household income. According to CEOs for Cities, every one percentage point increase in adult four-year college degree attainment adds an additional $763 to per capita income per year.

What It Takes to Succeed: The College Access Pipeline

Research has identified six components to helping students prepare for and succeed in college.

  1. Setting college as a goal.
  2. Rigorous academic preparation, particularly in writing and math.
  3. Attending a high school with a college-going culture.
  4. Understanding how to navigate the process, including FAFSA completion and college applications.
  5. Having access to adequate financial resources.
  6. Having the social, academic and financial support to persist to graduation once enrolled in college.


It's important to note that academic success and the ability to persist through the college access pipeline rely heavily on students developing "social-emotional" skills.  These are skills such as being able to navigate risk and opportunity, goal setting, communication, collaborative problem solving and responsible decision-making, in addition to being able to demonstrate broader attributes like connectedness with their community.

Where We Stand

The St. Louis region ranks 21st among the top 35 major metropolitan areas in the share of adults with an Associate's degree or higher.  However, the St. Louis region ranks 31st in the share of African Americans with a degree.

There is a 14% gap between the percentage of African Americans with a postsecondary degree and the population overall. That is why St. Louis Graduates is committed to equity in degree completion.

Learn more about degree completion in the St. Louis region through the St. Louis Regional Education Dashboard, a joint initiative of St. Louis Graduates and St. Louis Regional Chamber.