January 2024 Poll Results Press Collage

January 31, 2024

New Data: Arizonans See Education After High School as the Path To a High Quality of Life, Want More Done to Increase Attainment

A new poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Arizonans believe that increasing the number of adults with degrees, certificates, and credentials delivers economic and social benefits for their communities and prevents Arizona from falling into future economic issues.

A new poll commissioned by Education Forward Arizona’s “Everything to Gain” campaign finds that Arizonans strongly endorse the statewide goal that at least 60 percent of adults ages 25-64 complete education beyond high school – known as the Achieve60AZ goal. Arizonans also believe more should be done by Arizona education, business, and elected leaders to hit that goal by 2030 and avoid the “attainment cliff” the state is hurtling toward with less than 50 percent of Arizona students enrolling in education after graduating high school.

“Arizonans understand that our state has everything to gain when students continue their education after high school and complete a postsecondary program,” said Rich Nickel, president and CEO of Education Forward Arizona. “The data is clear that leaders in education and business, as well as our state’s elected officials, must seize the moment and do everything possible to meet the Achieve60AZ goal. The time to act is now.”

Leaders from across the state came together to set the Achieve60AZ attainment goal in 2016. After years of incremental gains, progress has stagnated. The most recent data shows that only 48 percent of Arizonans have attained a postsecondary degree or certificate. Progress must be rapidly accelerated across all of P-20 education for the state to meet the goal by 2030.

“These results align with what we at Center for the Future of Arizona know: Arizonans understand the value of education and its importance to individual prosperity and the broader economic advancement of Arizona. There is overwhelming consensus on top priorities, including education and training beyond high school,” said Dr. Sybil Francis, Chair, President & CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona. “As we stand at this pivotal moment, it is our responsibility as leaders, educators, and community members to respond and transform these insights into meaningful action. By working together, we can ensure that education provides an engine of success for every Arizonan.”

The poll results show that of the Arizonans surveyed:

  • 86 percent support the Achieve60AZ goal, and 71 percent believe more should be done to increase the share of Arizona students with education beyond high school.
  • 92 percent of Arizonans believe that “we must foster other postsecondary opportunities that give students a chance to learn the skills to succeed in a career and obtain industry certification.”
  • 84 percent say that “people who have completed education or training after high school usually have a better quality of life than those who do not.”
  • 82 percent agree that “some education beyond high school is necessary for a person to be successful in today’s work world.”

Additionally, Arizonans understand that the value of postsecondary education at four-year colleges, community colleges, apprenticeships, and workforce certification programs goes beyond economic benefits. 

More than 90 percent of those polled say that education beyond high school produces well-rounded, informed citizens who make our communities strong, ensure people who grow up in Arizona can stay in Arizona, and improve Arizona’s quality of life by reducing crime, training our future workforce, and strengthening our communities. 

FM3 Research and Highground Public Affairs Consultants conducted the telephone poll for 613 Arizona residents from November 20–27, 2023. The poll results have a 95 percent confidence level and a 4-point margin of error.

The complete poll results are available here.