Department of Higher Education Receives $100,000 Challenge Grant

COLUMBUS, Ohio (2017-07-05) — 

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) today announced it has been selected to receive a $100,000 attainment challenge grant from Lumina Foundation. Funding will support strategic initiatives to increase the state’s postsecondary attainment rate to 65 percent by 2025.


According to the 2017 issue of A Stronger Nation, Lumina’s annual report on postsecondary attainment, Ohio’s attainment rate was 43.6 percent in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available. That’s below the national rate of 45.8 percent and short of estimates from labor economists who say 60 percent of all jobs will require some form of high-quality postsecondary credentials by the end of this decade.


The Lumina grant will allow ODHE to work with businesses to align the attainment goal with employers’ needs for stronger workforce development and diversity. A statewide and county-by-county data dashboard will be developed to leverage efforts of local education attainment partnerships throughout Ohio. And ODHE will promote the value of high-quality technical certificates and certifications and capture consistent data on the percentage of Ohioans earning these postsecondary credentials.


“Ohio has strong partnerships for attainment and an effective outcomes-based funding formula that has helped to increase completion,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey. “These conditions provide a strong foundation for achieving Ohio’s attainment goal, and resources from this grant will help us leverage them to move our outcomes to the next level.”


The Lumina grant will also support efforts to increase the postsecondary attainment of Ohio’s underrepresented and low-income populations. Slightly more than 24 percent of Hispanic adults and 25.2 percent of African-Americans in Ohio hold a two-year or four-year degree, compared to 38.8 percent of white residents.

“We applaud Ohio for its commitment to increasing education attainment beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Today’s workplace demands a greater breadth and depth of talent, and Ohio is wise to pursue a strategy focused on ensuring its residents possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in our rapidly changing labor market.”


Lumina launched its Attainment Challenge Grant program last fall and committed to support states with up to $100,000 for developing and implementing evidence-based policies to improve student success, close equity gaps, and help their states reach a robust postsecondary attainment goal.


“ODHE’s goal of increasing Ohio’s postsecondary attainment rate to 65 percent by 2025 supports our efforts to build a skilled and productive workforce and create a culture of continuous learning in Ohio,” said Ryan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.

For more information on Ohio’s attainment goal and how to assist in achieving it, go to

About the Ohio Department of Higher Education

The Ohio Department of Higher Education is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly and carries out state higher education policy.


About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

Contact Information: 

Ohio Department of Higher Education Contact:
Jeff Robinson
Office: 614.752.9487

Lumina Foundation Contact:
Lucia Anderson Weathers
Office: 317.951.5316