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Policy Experts: Too Many Hoosiers Think High School Diploma Is Enough To 'Get Ahead In Life'

A high school graduation ceremony in South Bend, held outside due to COVID-19 safety precautions. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Hoosiers are significantly more likely than other regions in the country to think a high school diploma is enough education to be successful. Policy experts say that mindset needs to change to value more education.

Last fall, the American Enterprise Institute asked people across the county to complete a sentence that went something like this: I need ___ to get ahead in life. In most places, less than 20 percent said a high school education would be enough, but in Indiana, 25 percent said it was. That difference got even wider among 18- to 29-year-olds.

Nathan Ringham, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership director of research and insights, said research makes it clear: more than a high school diploma is needed for a good job. He said employment trends throughout the pandemic should make that obvious.

“One would think that the current moment would present an opportunity for people to kind of rethink what level of education they need to get ahead, but we won’t know until we do another survey,” he said. 

Indiana workforce and education agencies have a goal of seeing at least 60 percent of Hoosiers get some post-secondary education by 2025. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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