Arkansas Ranks 49th in Nation in Number of Adults with College Degrees

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new report shows Arkansas again ranks 49th in the nation for the number of adults with a college education, though more are seeking degrees than a decade ago.

The annual report by the Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education shows only 19 percent of adults older than 25 hold at least a bachelor's degree, just behind Kentucky.  The study put West Virginia at 50th with just 15.9 percent.

A spokesman for Governor Beebe describes the results as "unacceptable," saying the governor would work toward improving Arkansas' rating and economic fortunes.

However, the report shows 22,502 degrees and certificates were awarded by colleges and universities last year, up 49 percent from ten years ago.

Steve Floyd, interim director of the Arkansas Dept. of Higher Ed, says he is not concerned by the possibility of the state slipping to 50th in the rankings, a position Arkansas held in 2000, 2001, and 2004.  However, Floyd says making headway is a challenge as low-ranking states race to improve.

The department's report will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)