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The Condition of Postsecondary Education


May 29, 2014


The Condition of Postsecondary Education

The Condition of Education 2014 explores a number of broad trends in education using the latest data available. Of particular interest in this National Center for Education Statistics publication is data on postsecondary enrollment, fields of study and completion:

  • There were more than 3 million high school completers in 2012, and 66 percent immediately went on to postsecondary education, an increase from 1990.
  • In fall 2012, 40 percent of undergraduates, or 7.2 million students, were enrolled in two-year schools. The growth rate for two-year college enrollment outstripped four-year college enrollment at the end of the 20th century, but that trend switched in the 2000s. In addition, total undergraduate enrollment decreased slightly from 2010 to 2012.
  • Enrollment at private for-profit institutions grew faster than enrollment at public or private non-profit schools.
  • One million associate's degrees were awarded in school year 2011-12, an increase of 8 percent from the prior year and 71 percent from 2000-01.
  • The majority of associate's degrees were awarded in liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities; health professions; and business, management, marketing and support. Degrees conferred in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting grew exponentially over the past decade.
  • Proportionally fewer postsecondary students also worked in 2012 than 10 years prior.

While the Condition of Education 2014 does not delve into CTE-specific trends, the above statistics fill in the picture on postsecondary enrollment and attainment across the boom-and-bust cycle of the early 21st century.

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