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New Statistics on College Enrollment and Completion Released

July 26, 2016

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) recently released a First Look report, which surveyed colleges and universities on institutional characteristics, enrollment, and completion.

IPEDS is a mandatory survey that all U.S. higher education institutions must complete to participate in the federal student financial aid programs. The latest First Look report is based on 7,164 institutions that reported data in fall 2015, of which 23 percent were four-year private nonprofit institutions, 10 percent were four-year public institutions, and 14 percent were two-year public (community) colleges. The remaining schools were proprietary institutions and/or less-than-two-year institutions.

Collectively, the institutions in the First Look report enrolled 27.4 million students (unduplicated headcount) during the 2014-15 academic year (AY). Of these, approximately 9.9 million were enrolled at four-year institutions (with 8.1 million undergraduate and 1.8 graduate students) and 9.6 million were enrolled at two-year institutions.

Average changes in the tuition and fee published prices for full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students varied by institution type. From AY 2013-14 to 2015-16, listed tuition and required fees increased by 4 percent at four-year public and private nonprofit institutions and by nearly 5 percent at two-year colleges. In contrast, listed tuition and fees decreased at four-year for-profit institutions by 0.5 percent, at two-year private nonprofit institutions by 1 percent, and at two-year private for-profit institutions by slightly less than 1 percent.

Approximately 3.2 million students received awards from four-year public and private institutions. Roughly 59 percent of students earned bachelor degrees, and approximately 24 percent earned master’s degrees.

Percentages varied by institution control (public or private). Of approximately 1.8 million students that earned degrees at four-year public institutions, 65 percent received bachelor degrees and 19 percent received master degrees. Just over 1 million students earned degrees at four-year private nonprofit institutions; of those, roughly 53 percent earned bachelor degrees and 32 percent earned master degrees.

Of the nearly 1.1 million students who graduated from two-year institutions, roughly 63 percent earned associate degrees. When considering institution control, roughly 932,000 students received degrees from two-year public colleges, and nearly 68 percent earned associate degrees.

The full IPEDS First Look report is available online.