According to the newly released Digest of Education Statistics for 2011, college enrollment among all types of students increased in the 2010-2011 school year and is expected to continue increasing. The digest examined, among other things, college enrollment, degrees conferred overall and by race and gender, the cost of undergraduate tuition, and overall educational attainment over the past 30 years.
In fall 2010, 21 million students, more than ever before, were enrolled in college. By 2020, enrollment is expected to increase 15%, or to more than 24 million students. In the 1980s and 1990s, college enrollment among the traditional college-age population of 18- to 24-year-olds had decreased, the traditional college enrollment is back up, having increased 12% since 2000. Total college enrollment increased 37% since 2000. Part-time student enrollment increased by 26% since 2000, and full-time enrollment increased 37%. Male enrollment increased 35% since 2000, and female enrollment increased 39%.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, the number of total degrees conferred is expected to be around 3,530,000. The number of bachelor’s degrees projected to be awarded is 1,725,000; the number of associate degrees expected is 895,000, followed by 735,000 master’s degrees and 175,000 doctoral or terminal degrees. The numbers of associate degrees and master’s degrees awarded each saw a significant increase of 50% since 2000, while the number of bachelor’s degrees increased by 33%, and the number of doctoral degrees awarded increased by 34%.
Females earned 57% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2009-2010, as they did in 1999-2000. The number of bachelor’s degrees earned by white students increased 26%. The number of degrees awarded by other races increased by much more: 53% for black students, 87% for Hispanic students, 51% for Asian/Pacific Islander students, and 42% for American Indian/Alaska Native students.
Despite increases in degree earnings from every race, white students still earned more than 7 out of every 10 bachelor’s degrees awarded: white students earned 71% of bachelor’s degrees; black students earned 10% of bachelor’s degrees; Hispanic students earned 9% of degrees; Asian/Pacific Islander students earned 7% of degrees; and American Indian/Alaska Native students earned 1% of degrees. The percentage of degrees earned by each race other than white students increased since 2000.
Since 2000, prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board at public colleges and universities have increased 42%, while prices at private not-for-profit institutions have increased 31%, accounting for inflation. In the 2010-2011 school year, tuition and fees averaged $13,564 at public institutions, $36,252 at private not-for-profit institutions, and $23,495 at private for-profit institutions.
The NCES also reiterated earlier statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, reporting that more Americans now have bachelor’s degrees than ever before. Additionally, the percentage of adults 25 years old and older with a high school diploma or equivalent rose from 84% in 2001 to 88% in 2011, and the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree increased from 26% to 30%.
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