September 9th, 2014
The United States’ spending on higher education far outstrips that of
other countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development, according to the group’s annual Education at a Glance report released today. Annually, the U.S. spends about $26,000 per student, compared to the OECD average of less than $14,000.
But it looks like Americans may not be getting as much return on their investment as they could be.
2012, 43 percent of 25 to 64 year-old Americans held a degree beyond a
high school diploma — up seven percentage points from 36 percent in
2000. Despite President Obama’s goals for increasing college access and completion,
many OECD countries saw their degree-holding population rise faster
over the same period. Canada, the only country where residents held more
degrees than Americans in 2000, saw a 13 point jump to 53 percent in
2012. Luxembourg had the biggest increase — degree holders there rose
from 18 to 39 percent of working-aged adults. (In the graphs included in
this post upper secondary refers to educational attainment equivalent
to a high school diploma in the U.S. and tertiary refers to the level of
an associate’s degree or higher.)