Lumina Foundation

“We need to increase post-secondary credentialing, because credentials are essentially a tool, a labor market signifier, that you're prepared to do the changing type of human work that's needed in the modern context.”
– Jamie Merisotis, President & CEO, Lumina Foundation​


Lumina Foundation works to ensure that 60% of adults in the U.S. will have a college degree, certificate, industry certification or other credential of value by 2025. ​

The foundation does this through a holistic strategy that involves the provision of grants to organizations advancing learning opportunities, brokering conversations to address strategic challenges, commissioning research and advocating for policy change at state and federal level, as well as investing in social enterprise through its impact fund.​

Role in the future of work

In partnership with education and business leaders, civil rights organizations, policymakers and individuals, Lumina is working to build a fair education and training system that meets society’s challenges, including the urgent and growing need for diverse and qualified talent. ​

By enabling learners of all ages and backgrounds to acquire post-secondary education and prepare for lucrative job opportunities, Lumina is helping to close current and future skill gaps. Their research has also shown that by offering education and training opportunities, employers can cut costs, thanks to lower recruitment costs and turnover, and higher productivity levels.​

Growth to date

Since Lumina launched in 2000, the foundation has enabled 12 million additional U.S. adults to achieve college degrees and other quality credentials, and the post-secondary education attainment rate has increased from 38% to 52% (with a 60% goal for 2025).

Barriers and challenges

One barrier is a lack of urgency and action at the local level. Increasing the post-secondary education attainment rate requires systemic changes and the collaborative investment of various stakeholders, which can be disruptive and challenging. A second barrier is encouraging more low-income students of color to gain entry into the system, and ensuring they receive adequate support along the way to ensure their success.​

Looking to the future

The issues of racial equity and educational quality are going to continue well beyond 2025, so Lumina will continue to contribute to the dynamic system of learning and working, looking at systemic redesign in collaboration with individuals, employers and policymakers.​

Click to Lumina's website for more: