The United States ranks 14th in the world when it comes to the percentage of the population that has a college education.
But one local university, along with nearly 500 around the nation, is hoping to change that.
The School of Mines awarded 356 degrees last year, up 11% from 2011.
School administrators say they hope to increase that number by at least 5% every year going forward.
In addition to more aggressive recruitment efforts, leaders say they want to reach out to past students who left without graduating.
"We are trying to contact students and make them aware of the fact that they can come back and complete their degree. There's a new degree in the system that's called the bachelor of science and general studies which was designed for just that purpose," said Acting Dean Duane Hrncir.
Collectively, public colleges and universities award over 1 million degrees annually.