Mesa County still trails state and nation in proportion of adults with college degrees

While the proportion of adults in a 14-county region of Western Colorado who hold four-year college degrees now tops the natonal average, the proportion of adults in Mesa County with college degrees continues to trail the nation.

Mesa State College President Tim Foster announced that 33 percent of residents 25 years or older in a 14-county region on the West Slope hold bachelor’s degrees. That exceeds the national average of 27.5 percent, but falls just short of the Colorado average of 35.5 percent.

According to the same data from the 2010 census, 24.7 percent of Mesa County residents 25 years or older have bachelor’s degrees.

The 2010 figure for Mesa County is higher than the 22 percent reported in the 2000 census, however. When Foster took over as the college president six years ago, he said increasing the number of residents with degrees would be a high priority.

Western Colorado long had lagged behind national averages for adults with four-year degrees.

There’s no available data to determine whether the new percentage is a reflection of the so-called Colorado Paradox: while the state ranks high in the proportion of adults with college degrees, it ranks low in the proportion of high school students who attend college. The paradox could be a result of college-educated people moving to Colorado.