NCES Data Shows Increases in Degree Attainment From 2003 to 2013

Quick Takeaways:

  • Total college enrollment increased 20 percent from 2003 to 2013, including a 9 percent increase in the traditional college-age population of students who were between 18 and 24 years old.
  • In the 2014-15 academic year, NCES projected that 949,000 associate degrees and 1.852 million bachelor’s degrees were conferred, as well as 778,000 master’s degrees and 178,000 doctor’s degrees.
  • About 84 percent of full-time undergraduate students in 2011-12 received financial aid in the form of grants, loans, work-study, or aid of multiple types, including 73 percent who received federal financial aid.

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

College enrollment is expected to increase by 14 percent between fall 2013 and fall 2024, following a 20 percent increase in enrollment from 2003 to 2013, according to new data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

According to the data, published in the 2014 edition of the Digest of Education Statistics, college enrollment in fall 2013 was 20.4 million, which was a 3 percent decrease from fall 2010. Despite that slight dip, total college enrollment increased 20 percent from 2003 to 2013, including a 9 percent increase in the traditional college-age population of students who were between 18 and 24 years old. For that same time period, there was a 22 percent increase in the number of full-time students enrolled in college, as well as an 18 percent increase in the number of part-time students enrolled. The 10-year period also saw a 22 percent increase in the number of males enrolled in college and a 19 percent increase in the number of females enrolled.

In the 2014-15 academic year, NCES projected that 949,000 associate degrees and 1.852 million bachelor’s degrees were conferred, as well as 778,000 master’s degrees and 178,000 doctor’s degrees. The number of degrees conferred between 2002-03 and 2012-13 – the last year for which NCES has actual data – increased at all levels of postsecondary education, with a 59 percent increase in the number of associate degrees conferred and a 36 percent increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred. The number of master’s degrees conferred increased by 45 percent within that 10-year period, while the number of doctor’s degrees increase by 44 percent.

NCES also broke down the data on bachelor’s degrees conferred between 2002-03 and 2012-13 by sex and race, showing a 37 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded to males and a 36 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded to females. When broken down by race, the data shows increases of:

  • 23 percent for white students;
  • 54 percent for black students;
  • 110 percent for Hispanic students;
  • 48 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students; and 
  • 16 percent for American Indian/Alaskan Native students.

The data regarding the cost of college shows a 34 percent increase in the prices of undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board at public institutions between 2003-04 and 2013-14. The prices at private, non-profit institutions rose 25 percent within that time frame, while the prices at for-profit institutions declined 16 percent. In current dollars, the annual prices for undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year were as follows:

  • $15,640 at public institutions;
  • $40,614 at private, nonprofit institutions; and 
  • $23,135 at for-profit institutions.

About 84 percent of full-time undergraduate students in 2011-12 received financial aid in the form of grants, loans, work-study, or aid of multiple types, including 73 percent who received federal financial aid. Fifty-seven percent of full-time undergraduate students received aid from nonfederal sources in 2011-12.

In 2012-13, tuition and fees accounted for a 32 percent of total revenue at private, non-profit institutions and 21 percent at public institutions. The percentage was significantly higher – 91 percent – at for-profit institutions, according to NCES.

 

Publication Date: 4/29/2016


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