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18 Million Undergraduates Enrolled in Fall 2012, and Other New Data

The U.S. Department of Education sure knows how to ring in the New Year! Last week the National Center for Education Statistics released lots of new data from its vast Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds. The numbers provide a fresh look at enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and employment in 2012-13 at more than 7,000 institutions nationwide.

Here are some highlights:

Enrollment (Fall 2012):

  • Total enrollment at postsecondary institutions fell about 2 percent from 2011, to 21.1 million.
  • The total number of undergraduates fell slightly, to 18.2 million. Here’s a breakdown of where those undergraduates were enrolled, by sector:

  • The total number of graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in for-profit colleges fell nearly 8 percent from 2011, while enrollment at public colleges dropped 1.6 percent and enrollment at private nonprofit colleges rose less than 1 percent.
  • There are about five women for every four men in higher education—a ratio that has barely changed in more than a decade.

Finances (2012 Fiscal Year):

  • While total revenue for four-year public universities fell $3.6-billion, or about 1.5 percent, from 2011, private nonprofit four-year universities saw revenue fall by $45-billion, or nearly 22 percent.
  • Public colleges and universities spent nearly $300-billion, a year-over-year increase of about 3 percent.
  • Tuition and fees rose as a percentage of revenue at public and private nonprofit four-year colleges:

  • Total state funding for four-year public colleges fell by $3-billion and total federal funding fell by $1-billion from 2011. State appropriations now account for a slightly smaller portion of four-year public-college revenue (20.9 percent) than tuition and fees (21.1 percent).

Graduation Rates (August 2012):

  • Fifty-nine percent of students who entered a four-year college in the fall of 2006 to pursue a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent graduated within six years, up less than 1 percent from the year before.
  • At four-year public colleges, Asian women, the group with the highest graduation rate (70 percent), graduated at more than twice the rate of African-American men, the group with the lowest graduation rate (32 percent).
  • Two-thirds of students didn’t graduate from the community college they started at within three years, though some of them may have transferred to a four-year college.

Employment (Fall 2012):

  • Colleges and universities employed about 2.5 million people on a full-time basis and 1.5 million part time.
  • Of the 1.5 million postsecondary teachers (professors and other instruction, research, and public-service staff members), about half were employed part time. At two-year public colleges, part-time teachers outnumbered full-time teachers by more than two to one.
  • Colleges employed more than a half-million administrative staff members, the second-largest category of employees after teachers.
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