10 takeaways from the NCES report: The Condition of Education 2016

The National Center for Education Statistics recently published its annual report, The Condition of Education 2016, which showcases national trends in education. Below are 10 higher education highlights from the report:

 1. Employment outcomes vary by ethnicity/sex.

86% of all young adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor’s or higher degree were employed in 2014, yet employment outcomes differ by sex and race/ethnicity. For example, female full-time, year-round workers earned less than their male colleagues in nearly all of the occupation groups examined and for every employment sector (e.g., private for-profit, private nonprofit, government). Black young adults who worked full-time, year-round also earned less than their white peers in a majority of the occupations analyzed.

2. Attainment rates have increased, but the achievement gap is growing.

In 2015, some 36% of 25- to 29-year-olds had attained a bachelor’s or higher degree. The percentage of white 25- to 29-year-olds who had attained this level of education increased from 1995 to 2015, as the size of the white-black gap in the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree widened from 13 to 22 percentage points and the size of the white-Hispanic gap widened from 20 to 27 percentage points.

3. Demand for faculty is growing.

From fall 1993 to fall 2013, the number of full-time faculty at degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 45%, while the number of part-time faculty increased by 104%. As a result of the faster increase in the number of part-time faculty, the percentage of all faculty who were part-time increased from 40 to 49% during this period.

4. Young adults with a bachelor’s degree earn 66% more annually than those with only a high school diploma.

In 2014, the median earnings of young adults with a bachelor’s degree ($49,900) were 66% higher than the median earnings of young adult high school completers ($30,000). The median earnings of young adult high school completers were 20% higher than the median earnings of those without a high school credential ($25,000).

5. The more postsecondary education earned, the lower the unemployment rate will be.

The unemployment rate was significantly lower for people with higher levels of educational attainment. For example, among 20- to 24-year-olds in 2015, the unemployment rate was 5% for those with a bachelor’s or higher degree, but 20% for those who did not complete high school.

6. Undergraduate enrollment increased 31% over the last 15 years.

Total undergraduate enrollment in increased 31% from 13.2 million in 2000 to 17.3 million in 2014. By 2025, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase to 19.8 million students. Total enrollment in graduate programs was 2.9 million students in fall 2014. Between 2014 and 2025, graduate enrollment is projected to increase by 21%, to 3.5 million students.

7. 57% of 4-year institutions accepted 3/4 or more of their applicants in 2014-15.

In 2014–15, some 29% of 4-year institutions had open admissions policies (accepted all applicants), an additional 28% accepted 3/4 or more of their applicants, 30% accepted from 1/2 to less than 3/4 of their applicants, and 13% accepted less than 1/2 of their applicants. 10.6 million undergraduate students attended 4-year institutions in fall 2014, while 6.7 million attended 2-year institutions. 77% of undergraduate students at 4-year institutions attended full time, compared with 40% at 2-year institutions.

8. The number of associate degrees earned has increased by 51% from 2003-04 to 2013-14.

From 2003–04 to 2013–14, the number of associate degrees earned increased by 51%, from 665,300 to over 1 million, while the number of bachelor’s degrees increased by 34%, from 1.4 million to 1.9 million. Between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14, the number of master’s degrees earned increased by 34%, from 564,300 to 754,500, and the number of doctorate degrees earned increased by 41%, from 126,100 to 177,600.

9. Nationally, 60% of bachelor’s degree-seeking students graduate in 6 years. In Utah, it’s about 50%.

About 60% of students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2008 completed that degree within 6 years; the graduation rate was higher for females than males (62% vs. 57%). In Utah, about 50% graduate within 6 years.

10. The average annual net price of attending a 4-year public institution is $12,750. For Utah’s 4-year public universities, the average net price is $11,400.

The average net price of attendance—total cost (includes room, board, books, etc.) minus grant and scholarship aid—for first-time, full-time students in 2013–14 (in constant 2014–15 dollars) was $12,750 at 4-year public institutions, $24,690 at 4-year private nonprofit institutions, and $21,000 at 4-year private for-profit institutions. For Utah’s 4-year public institutions, the average net price of attending is $11,400, nearly 11% less than the national average.

Additional information

The NCES report also includes an At a Glance section, which comparisons within and across indicators, and a Highlights section, which captures a key finding or set of findings from each indicator.

The report contains a Reader’s GuideGlossary, and a Guide to Data Sources that provide additional information to help place the indicators in context. In addition, each indicator references the data tables that were used to produce the indicator, most of which are in the Digest of Education Statistics.

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Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director