Undergraduate enrollment has jumped 48 percent since 1990 and hovered around 17.7 million students in 2012, according to the Institute of Education Sciences’ new “Condition of Education” report, out today. Another 2.9 million students were attending postbaccalaureate degree programs. And more students are transitioning immediately from high school to college, too; 66 percent in 2012, 6 percentage points higher than in 1990.
In 2012, colleges awarded more degrees than the year before, conferring more
than a million associate’s degrees, 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees and 750,000
master’s degrees. About 56 percent of men and 61 percent of women who began
pursuing their bachelor’s degree in 2006 and did not transfer had completed
their degree by 2012. About 10.6 million of those undergraduates were attending
four-year institutions in 2012 (77 percent did so full-time), with the rest at
two-year colleges (41 percent full-time).
Three out of four first-time, full-time four-year college undergraduates
received financial aid in 2012, up 10 percentage points from 2006-07.
The average student loan amount is also on the rise, the report says. It was
$6,800 in 2011-12, up 36 percent since 2000. And 10 percent of students who
began repayment in fiscal year 2011 had defaulted before the end of fiscal year
As of 2013, 34 percent of 25- to -29-year-olds had a bachelor’s or higher
degree, and the percentage of degree-holders has risen in the past decade. But
the gap in attainment between white and black and Hispanic students continues