Arizona's three universities increased the number of students graduating with a bachelor's degree 9 percent in the last two years, from 18,654 in 2007 to 20,294 in 2009, according to a study released Thursday by the Arizona Board of Regents.
The board set a goal - called 2020 Vision - to increase baccalaureate degree production by 50 percent over the next 10 years in order to meet anticipated workforce needs.
"This is outstanding news," said board president Ernest Calderon. "Amid budget cuts of more than $230 million over the last two years, the fact that the universities have exceeded degree production goals is a testament to the faculty and administration at our universities."
According to 2008 data, only 25 percent of Arizonans age 25 and up have a bachelor's degree or higher. The data also shows the number of students at Arizona's community colleges transferring to the universities is up 8.3 percent from 2007-2009.