IPSI Spotlight

The Condition of Education 2017

Sooo...how are we doing as a nation?

This report contains lots of detailed information right from the total number of students enrolled in U.S. schools to employment statistics for postsecondary graduates by major. I’ll highlight very few points that are largely relevant to us. You can download the full report here [PDF].

In 2016, although 92% of young adults graduate high school, only 36% have a bachelor’s or higher degree and only 9% have a Master’s or higher degree. Although, this has increased by nearly 4-6 percentage points over the last 16 years, undergraduate enrollment has fallen by 300,000 in 2015 compared to a year ago. Let's hope it’s not a downward slide starting this year.

In 2015-2016, there were more than 17 million students enrolled in 2,584 four-year institutions and 1,563 two-year institutions. In 4-year institutions, 76.7% of students were enrolled full-time whereas only 38.7% of students were enrolled full-time in 2-year institutions. Hence it's not surprising which students are likelier to graduate.

Among first-time college students in 2011–12, the percentage of students who were still enrolled or had graduated after 3 years was higher for students who began at 4-year institutions (80 percent) than for those who began at 2-year institutions (57 percent). This has implications on college fit that we mentioned in the last newsletter.

In terms of tuition and financial aid, the average net price at a 4-year public in-state institution in 2014-2015 was $13,200 and the average student loan amount was $7,000. Double it for a private institution. However, nearly 86% of students in these institutions received some form of financial aid. Write to your elected representatives if you want your students to continue getting financial aid.

Within 4-year institutions, 41 percent of students who scored in the lowest quarter of SAT/ACT scores, were likely to persist compared to 82 percent of students who scored in the highest quarter of SAT/ACT scores. So focusing on SAT prep to get higher scores will not only get you into better schools but will also matter on whether you stay enrolled.

Postsecondary institutions conferred approximately 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees in 2014–15. This represents a 32 percent increase in the past ten years. However, only slightly over 200,000 degrees were in engineering and biological & biomedical sciences (STEM). But another 200,000 degrees were in health professions or related programs; an increase of 168 percent in last ten years.

Finally, talking about the digital divide, the percentage of students who use the Internet at home varied by parental education level in 2015, ranging from 42 percent for children whose parents had not completed high school to 71 percent for those whose parents had completed a bachelor’s or higher degree. Hopefully, advent of smartphones and tablets will increase access to the Internet.