Measuring Our Progress

towards our goal: 2 million by 2030

Without action, we are projected to fall short in 2030 by 400,000 individuals with the skills needed to fill our projected job needs. This dashboard tracks progress toward the 2030 statewide attainment goal, using proven indicators, and establishes benchmarks to show how North Carolina students are performing along the entire education continuum, from NC Pre-K through college and career.

Without Action, We Will Fall Short

NC Degrees / Credentials Individuals Aged 25-44

A chart showing North Carolina's current population of residents with a postsecondary education, 1.3 million in 2019, or 49%. The state has set a goal of reaching 2 million residents with postsecondary education by 2030, or 66%. At the current rates of educational attainment, it is projected that the state will only reach 1.6 million by 2030, leading to a shortfall of 400,000.

Track Progress and View Goals

Data can tell us where we are and help us drive local communities to act

The indicators on this page represent key transition points along the continuum. You can also see all 18 educational performance indicators. These indicators are tied directly to our primary goal of 2 million by 2030, and myFutureNC is working to establish 2030 goals for each indicator. We also compare North Carolina’s performance to peer southern states when data is available.

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= Top southern state

(not available for all indicators)

College-and-Career-Ready Reading

Percent of North Carolina students in grades 3-8 who earned a college-and-career-ready score on the End-of-Grade Reading exam

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Forty-five percent of North Carolina 3rd through 8th graders earned college-and-career-ready scores on the Reading End-of-Grade exam in 2019. By 2030, the goal is to have 73% of students in grades 3-8 earn college-and-career-ready scores in reading. 

ACT Performance

Percent of North Carolina Grade 11 students earning an ACT composite score of 17 or above (UNC minimum)

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In 2019, 56% of North Carolina public school 11th graders earned an ACT composite score of 17 or higher. By 2030, the goal is to have 70% of 11th graders earn an ACT score of 17 or higher.

FAFSA Completion Rate

Percent of North Carolina high school seniors completing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs)

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North Carolina’s FAFSA completion rate is currently 58%, placing our state 34th among all states in 2020. Tennessee had the highest FAFSA completion rate (78%) among southern comparison states. By 2030, the goal is that 80% of North Carolina high school seniors will complete the FAFSA.

Postsecondary Completion Rate

Percent of students beginning postsecondary at a North Carolina institution who complete a degree or credential within 6 years

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North Carolina’s postsecondary completion rate was 59% in 2018. In Virginia, the top-performing southern state, this rate was 65%.

Labor Market Alignment

Alignment between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers

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North Carolina’s labor market alignment was 82% in the most recently available data, meaning roughly eight-in-ten graduates from state postsecondary institutions had skills and credentials aligned with job openings.

The dashboard helps answer questions such as:

  • Which areas of the education continuum are working well?
  • Where do we need to focus the most energy and attention?
  • How is North Carolina doing compared to other states?

County profiles will help you understand how your county is performing on key indicators and where there are opportunities to improve attainment.

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