Improve access, affordability, and completion in post-secondary education and training

"Our responsibility to provide a great education does not end with high school. Reinvesting in higher education and community colleges will help prepare people for jobs that pay. Rebuilding the middle class and creating a better future for all Pennsylvanians depends on a skilled workforce and a real-world education and training strategy."
-Governor Tom Wolf

Why is this goal important?

In the 21st century, most family-sustaining jobs will require some education or training beyond high school. It is vital to the future of our commonwealth to support Pennsylvania's higher education institutions in preparing the next generation of Pennsylvanians to succeed in the 21st-century workforce. However, attending a four-year college or university is not the only path to a successful career for Pennsylvania's high school graduates. It is also vital to the future of our commonwealth that students who do not go to college have access to skills training that enables them to compete and succeed in today's economy. 

What are we working on to reach this goal?

Governor Wolf is committed to making higher education more affordable for middle-class families. Since taking office, the Wolf Administration has secured a total funding increase of $188 million for higher education. As part of his PAsmart initiative, the governor has made a first-of-its-kind $30 million investment in workforce development in Pennsylvania, which included funding for post-secondary education. Reflecting the governor's commitment to preparing students for in-demand careers, Pennsylvania now ranks second in the nation for investment in computer science education. In recognition of the sacrifices that Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families make to protect the commonwealth, Governor Wolf proposed and passed the PA GI Bill, a groundbreaking program to provide spouses and children of Pennsylvania National Guard members tuition reimbursement for higher education. In addition, Governor Wolf has proposed a new $200 million scholarship program through PASSHE that will help more Pennsylvanians earn a degree with fewer loans. 

How are we doing?

Governor Wolf has set a goal to increase the share of working-age Pennsylvanians with an industry-recognized certificate or degree to 60 percent by 2025. In 2016, 41.7 percent of working-age Pennsylvanians (ages 25 to 64) had a post-secondary degree. It is estimated that another 3 percent of working-age Pennsylvanians had a post-secondary certificate.    

Related Measures

Post-Secondary Degrees Awarded

The chart below shows the number of degrees awarded by Pennsylvania's higher education institutions. 

STEM Enrollment

The chart below documents the number of undergraduate students at Pennsylvania's publicly supported institutions enrolled in STEM degree programs.

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