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The Education of American Workers - A Better-educated Nation

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American workers are better educated than ever before. Before the end of World War II (1939–45), with the exception of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and some other professionals, very few people earned higher degrees for the purpose of preparing for a career or vocation. More typically, a person who wanted training for a job or occupation went to a vocational high school or became an apprentice, learning a trade from a highly skilled mentor.

The GI Bill of Rights, introduced in 1944 during World War II, changed the way Americans viewed higher education. The soldiers, sailors, and pilots returning to civilian life wanted to make better lives for themselves, and the U.S. government was willing to pay to give them the chance. Federal money paid to America's returning veterans opened up and enlarged trade and vocational schools and filled college class-rooms across the nation. Since that time American colleges and universities have been graduating more and more engineers, accountants, scientists, business-people, technicians, nurses, and others with similar professional and technical careers.

How Well Educated Are Americans?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), significant increases were registered in the twentieth century in the number of years of school completed by students. The median number of school years completed (half of the students completed more, and half completed less) by American students increased from 8.4 years in 1930 to thirteen years by 1993. (The NCES no longer publishes data on median number of years completed.) In 1930 fewer than one in five Americans aged twenty-five and over (19.1%) were high school graduates. Since that time the proportion has steadily increased; in March 2004, 85.2% of Americans aged twenty-five and older had completed high school. In addition, 27.7% of Americans had completed a bachelor's degree or higher as of 2004, compared with only 2.7% in 1910. The March 2004 figure for college graduates is the highest recorded since statistics were compiled beginning in 1910. (See Table 4.1.)

Who Is in College?

In 1970, 8.6 million high school graduates were enrolled in degree-granting institutions including colleges and universities. By 2004 enrollment had surpassed seventeen million, and by 2005 was approximately 17.4 million. The latest projections by the National Center for Education Statistics in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, estimate that enrollment for 2014 will be 19.5 million. (See Table 4.2.)

GENDER

Not only have enrollment numbers changed, so have the demographic characteristics of students,

TABLE 4.1 Years of school completed by persons age 25 and ever and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004

TABLE 4.1
Years of school completed by persons age 25 and over and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004
Age and year Total White, non-Hispanica Black, non-Hispanica Hispanic
Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec 25 and over Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec
Males and females 25 and over
1910d 23.8 13.5 2.7
1920d 22.0 16.4 3.3
1930d 17.5 19.1 3.9
April 1940 13.7 24.5 4.6 10.9 26.1 4.9 41.8 7.7 1.3
April 1950 11.1 34.3 6.2 8.9 36.4 6.6 32.6 13.7 2.2
April 1960 8.3 41.1 7.7 6.7 43.2 8.1 23.5 21.7 3.5
March 1970 5.3 55.2 11.0 4.2 57.4 11.6 14.7 36.1 6.1
March 1975 4.2 62.5 13.9 2.6 65.8 14.9 12.3 42.6 6.4 18.2 38.5 6.6
March 1980 3.4 68.6 17.0 1.9 71.9 18.4 9.1 51.4 7.9 15.8 44.5 7.6
March 1985 2.7 73.9 19.4 1.4 77.5 20.8 6.1 59.9 11.1 13.5 47.9 8.5
March 1986 2.7 74.7 19.4 1.4 78.2 20.9 5.3 62.5 10.9 12.9 48.5 8.4
March 1987 2.4 75.6 19.9 1.3 79.0 21.4 4.9 63.6 10.8 11.9 50.9 8.6
March 1988 2.4 76.2 20.3 1.2 79.8 21.8 4.8 63.5 11.2 12.2 51.0 10.0
March 1989 2.5 76.9 21.1 1.2 80.7 22.8 5.2 64.7 11.7 12.2 50.9 9.9
March 1990 2.4 77.6 21.3 1.1 81.4 23.1 5.1 66.2 11.3 12.3 50.8 9.2
March 1991 2.4 78.4 21.4 1.1 82.4 23.3 4.7 66.8 11.5 12.5 51.3 9.7
March 1992 2.1 79.4 21.4 0.9 83.4 23.2 3.9 67.7 11.9 11.8 52.6 9.3
March 1993 2.1 80.2 21.9 0.8 84.1 23.8 3.7 70.5 12.2 11.8 53.1 9.0
March 1994 1.9 80.9 22.2 0.8 84.9 24.3 2.7 73.0 12.9 10.8 53.3 9.1
March 1995 1.8 81.7 23.0 0.7 85.9 25.4 2.5 73.8 13.3 10.6 53.4 9.3
March 1996 1.8 81.7 23.6 0.6 86.0 25.9 2.2 74.6 13.8 10.3 53.1 9.3
March 1997 1.7 82.1 23.9 0.6 86.3 26.2 2.0 75.3 13.3 9.4 54.7 10.3
March 1998 1.6 82.8 24.4 0.6 87.1 26.6 1.7 76.4 14.8 9.3 55.5 11.0
March 1999 1.6 83.4 25.2 0.6 87.7 27.7 1.7 77.4 15.5 9.0 56.1 10.9
March 2000 1.6 84.1 25.6 0.5 88.4 28.1 1.6 78.9 16.6 8.7 57.0 10.6
March 2001 1.6 84.3 26.1 0.5 88.7 28.6 1.3 79.5 16.1 9.3 56.5 11.2
March 2002 1.6 84.1 26.7 0.5 88.7 29.4 1.6 79.2 17.2 8.7 57.0 11.1
March 2003 1.6 84.6 27.2 0.5 89.4 30.0 1.5 80.3 17.4 8.2 57.0 11.4
March 2004 1.5 85.2 27.7 0.4 90.0 30.6 1.3 81.1 17.7 8.1 58.4 12.1
Males and females 25 to 29
1920d 12.9 22.0 4.5 44.6 6.3 1.2
April 1940 5.9 38.1 5.9 3.4 41.2 6.4 27.0 12.3 1.6
April 1950 4.6 52.8 7.7 3.3 56.3 8.2 16.1 23.6 2.8
April 1960 2.8 60.7 11.0 2.2 63.7 11.8 7.2 38.6 5.4
March 1970 1.1 75.4 16.4 0.9 77.8 17.3 2.2 58.4 10.0
March 1975 1.0 83.1 21.9 0.6 86.6 23.8 0.5 71.1 10.5 8.0 53.1 8.8
March 1980 0.8 85.4 22.5 0.3 89.2 25.0 0.6 76.7 11.6 6.7 58.0 7.7
March 1985 0.7 86.1 22.2 0.2 89.5 24.4 0.4 80.5 11.6 6.0 60.9 11.1
March 1986 0.9 86.1 22.4 0.4 89.6 25.2 0.5 83.5 11.8 5.6 59.1 9.0
March 1987 0.9 86.0 22.0 0.4 89.4 24.6 0.4 83.4 11.5 4.8 59.8 8.7
March 1988 1.0 85.9 22.7 0.3 89.7 25.1 0.3 80.9 12.0 6.0 62.3 11.3
March 1989 1.0 85.5 23.4 0.3 89.3 26.3 0.5 82.3 12.6 5.4 61.0 10.1
March 1990 1.2 85.7 23.2 0.3 90.1 26.4 1.0 81.7 13.4 7.3 58.2 8.1
March 1991 1.0 85.4 23.2 0.4 89.8 26.7 0.5 81.8 11.0 5.8 56.7 9.2
March 1992 0.9 86.3 23.6 0.3 90.7 27.2 0.8 80.9 11.0 5.2 60.9 9.5
March 1993 0.7 86.7 23.7 0.3 91.2 27.2 0.2 82.6 13.3 4.0 60.9 8.3
March 1994 0.8 86.1 23.3 0.2 91.1 27.1 0.6 84.1 13.6 3.6 60.3 8.0

TABLE 4.1 Years of school completed by persons age 25 and ever and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004 (CONTINUED)

TABLE 4.1
Years of school completed by persons age 25 and over and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004 (CONTINUED)
Age and year Total White, non-Hispanica Black, non-Hispanica Hispanic
Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec 25 and over Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec
March 1995 0.9 86.8 24.7 0.3 92.5 28.8 0.2 86.7 15.4 4.9 57.1 8.9
March 1996 0.8 87.3 27.1 0.2 92.6 31.6 0.4 86.0 14.6 4.3 61.1 10.0
March 1997 0.8 87.4 27.8 0.1 92.9 32.6 0.6 86.9 14.2 4.2 61.8 11.0
March 1998 0.7 88.1 27.3 0.1 93.6 32.3 0.4 88.2 15.8 3.7 62.8 10.4
March 1999 0.6 87.8 28.2 0.1 93.0 33.6 0.2 88.7 15.0 3.2 61.6 8.9
March 2000 0.7 88.1 29.1 0.1 94.0 34.0 e 86.8 17.8 3.8 62.8 9.7
March 2001 0.8 87.7 28.6 0.2 93.3 33.0 0.1 87.0 17.8 4.7 63.2 11.1
March 2002 1.1 86.4 29.3 0.1 93.0 35.9 0.6 87.6 18.0 4.7 62.4 8.9
March 2003 1.0 86.5 28.4 0.2 93.7 34.2 0.6 88.5 17.5 4.0 61.7 10.0
March 2004 1.1 86.6 28.7 0.3 93.3 34.5 0.3 88.7 17.1 4.1 62.4 10.9
Males 25 and over
April 1940 15.1 22.7 5.5 12.0 24.2 5.9 46.2 6.9 1.4
April 1950 12.2 32.6 7.3 9.8 34.6 7.9 36.9 12.6 2.1
April 1960 9.4 39.5 9.7 7.4 41.6 10.3 27.7 20.0 3.5
March 1970 5.9 55.0 14.1 4.5 57.2 15.0 17.9 35.4 6.8
March 1980 3.6 69.2 20.9 2.0 72.4 22.8 11.3 51.2 7.7 16.5 44.9 9.2
March 1990 2.7 77.7 24.4 1.3 81.6 26.7 6.4 65.8 11.9 12.9 50.3 9.8
March 1995 2.0 81.7 26.0 0.8 86.0 28.9 3.4 73.5 13.7 10.8 52.9 10.1
March 1996 1.9 81.9 26.0 0.7 86.1 28.8 2.9 74.6 12.5 10.1 53.0 10.3
March 1997 1.8 82.0 26.2 0.6 86.3 29.0 2.9 73.8 12.5 9.2 54.9 10.6
March 1998 1.7 82.8 26.5 0.7 87.1 29.3 2.3 75.4 14.0 9.3 55.7 11.1
March 1999 1.6 83.4 27.5 0.6 87.7 30.6 2.0 77.2 14.3 9.0 56.0 10.7
March 2000 1.6 84.2 27.8 0.6 88.5 30.8 2.1 79.1 16.4 8.2 56.6 10.7
March 2001 1.6 84.4 28.0 0.6 88.6 30.9 1.7 80.6 15.9 9.4 55.6 11.1
March 2002 1.7 83.8 28.5 0.5 88.5 31.7 1.9 79.0 16.5 9.0 56.1 11.0
March 2003 1.7 84.1 28.9 0.5 89.0 32.3 1.9 79.9 16.8 8.3 56.3 11.2
March 2004 1.7 84.8 29.4 0.5 89.9 32.9 1.5 80.8 16.6 8.4 57.3 11.8
Females 25 and over
April 1940 12.4 26.3 3.8 9.8 28.1 4.0 37.5 8.4 1.2
April 1950 10.0 36.0 5.2 8.1 38.2 5.4 28.6 14.7 2.4
April 1960 7.4 42.5 5.8 6.0 44.7 6.0 19.7 23.1 3.6
March 1970 4.7 55.4 8.2 3.9 57.7 8.6 11.9 36.6 5.6
March 1980 3.2 68.1 13.6 1.8 71.5 14.4 7.4 51.5 8.1 15.3 44.2 6.2
March 1990 2.2 77.5 18.4 1.0 81.3 19.8 4.0 66.5 10.8 11.7 51.3 8.7
March 1995 1.7 81.6 20.2 0.6 85.8 22.1 1.7 74.1 13.0 10.4 53.8 8.4
March 1996 1.7 81.6 21.4 0.5 85.9 23.2 1.6 74.6 14.8 10.5 53.3 8.3
March 1997 1.6 82.2 21.7 0.5 86.3 23.7 1.3 76.5 14.0 9.5 54.6 10.1
March 1998 1.6 82.9 22.4 0.6 87.1 24.1 1.2 77.1 15.4 9.2 55.3 10.9
March 1999 1.5 83.3 23.1 0.5 87.6 25.0 1.5 77.5 16.5 9.0 56.3 11.0

TABLE 4.1 Years of school completed by persons age 25 and over and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004 (CONTINUED) Adapted from "Table 8. Percent of Persons Age 25 and Over and 25 to 29, by Years of School Completed, Race/Ethnicity, and Sex: Selected Years, 1910 to 2004," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_008.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)

TABLE 4.1
Years of school completed by persons age 25 and over and 25-29, by race/ethnicity and sex, 1910–2004 (CONTINUED)
Age and year Total White, non-Hispanica Black, non-Hispanica Hispanic
Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec 25 and over Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec Less than 5 years of elementary school High school completion or higherb Bachelor's or higher degreec
aIncluces persons of Hispanic origin for years prior to 1980.
bData for years prior to 1993 include all persons with at least 4 years of high school.
cData for 1993 and later years are for persons with a bachelor's or higher degree.
dEstimates based on Census Bureau retrojection of 1940 Census data on education by age.
Notes:—=Not available.
Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not shown separately. Beginning with data for 1992, a new question results in different categories than for earlier years. Prior to 1992, data for the category "High school completion or higher" was collected as "Completed 4 years of high school or more." Data for "Bachelor's or higher degree" was collected as "Completed 4 years of college or more."
SOURCE: Adapted from "Table 8. Percent of Persons Age 25 and Over and 25 to 29, by Years of School Completed, Race/Ethnicity, and Sex: Selected Years, 1910 to 2004," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_008.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)
March 2000 1.5 84.0 23.6 0.4 88.4 25.5 1.1 78.7 16.8 9.3 57.5 10.6
March 2001 1.5 84.2 24.3 0.4 88.8 26.5 1.1 78.7 16.8 9.3 57.5 10.6
March 2002 1.5 84.4 25.1 0.5 88.9 27.3 1.4 79.4 17.7 8.3 57.9 11.2
March 2003 1.5 85.0 25.7 0.4 89.7 27.9 1.2 80.7 18.0 8.1 57.8 11.6
March 2004 1.4 85.4 26.1 0.4 90.1 28.4 1.1 81.2 18.5 7.8 59.5 12.3

TABLE 4.2 Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by attendance status, age sex, selected years, 1970–2014

TABLE 4.2
Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by attendance status, age, and sex, selected years, 1970–2014
[In thousands]
Age and sex 1970a 1980a 1990a 1995a 2000b 2001b 2002b Projectedb
2003 2004 2005 2010 2014
    Males and females, total 8,581 12,097 13,819 14,262 15,312 15,928 16,612 16,910 17,095 17,350 18,816 19,470
14 to 17 years old 259 247 177 148 145 133 202 192 200 201 216 215
18 and 19 years old 2,600 2,901 2,950 2,894 3,531 3,595 3,571 3,551 3,669 3,705 4,067 3,951
20 and 21 years old 1,880 2,424 2,761 2,705 3,045 3,408 3,366 3,393 3,390 3,456 3,848 3,845
22 to 24 years old 1,457 1,989 2,144 2,411 2,617 2,760 2,932 3,062 3,087 3,143 3,384 3,686
25 to 29 years old 1,074 1,871 1,982 2,120 1,960 2,014 2,102 2,244 2,288 2,374 2,724 2,913
30 to 34 years old 487 1,243 1,322 1,236 1,265 1,290 1,300 1,311 1,300 1,290 1,399 1,573
35 years old and over 823 1,421 2,484 2,747 2,749 2,727 3,139 3,158 3,161 3,181 3,178 3,287
Males 5,004 5,874 6,284 6,343 6,722 6,961 7,202 7,259 7,268 7,356 7,872 8,084
    14 to 17 years old 130 99 87 61 63 54 82 79 81 83 87 84
    18 and 19 years old 1,349 1,375 1,421 1,338 1,583 1,629 1,616 1,575 1,600 1,622 1,760 1,701
    20 and 21 years old 1,095 1,259 1,368 1,282 1,382 1,591 1,562 1,583 1,573 1,586 1,739 1,726
    22 to 24 years old 964 1,064 1,107 1,153 1,293 1,312 1,342 1,401 1,401 1,417 1,498 1,617
    25 to 29 years old 783 983 940 962 862 905 890 909 917 949 1,071 1,133
    30 to 34 years old 308 576 537 561 527 510 547 546 538 533 569 636
     35 years old and over 415 507 824 986 1,012 961 1,164 1,164 1,159 1,166 1,148 1,186
Females 3,537 6,223 7,535 7,919 8,591 8,967 9,410 9,652 9,826 9,995 10,945 11,386
    14 to 17 years old 129 148 90 87 82 79 121 112 119 118 129 130
    18 and 19 years old 1,250 1,526 1,529 1,557 1,948 1,966 1,955 1,976 2,069 2,084 2,308 2,250
    20 and 21 years old 786 1,165 1,392 1,424 1,663 1,817 1,804 1,809 1,817 1,870 2,108 2,119
    22 to 24 years old 493 925 1,037 1,258 1,324 1,448 1,590 1,661 1,686 1,726 1,886 2,069
    25 to 29 years old 291 878 1,043 1,159 1,099 1,110 1,212 1,335 1,371 1,425 1,653 1,780
    30 to 34 years old 179 667 784 675 738 780 753 764 762 757 831 937
    35 years old and over 409 914 1,659 1,760 1,736 1,767 1,976 1,994 2,002 2,015 2,030 2,102
Full-time 5,816 7,098 7,821 8,129 9,010 9,448 9,946 10,156 10,303 10,483 11,563 11,902
    14 to 17 years old 242 223 144 123 125 122 161 154 161 162 174 174
    18 and 19 years old 2,406 2,669 2,548 2,387 2,932 2,929 2,942 2,910 3,013 3,043 3,352 3,266
    20 and 21 years old 1,647 2,075 2,151 2,109 2,401 2,662 2,759 2,783 2,782 2,840 3,173 3,178
    22 to 24 years old 881 1,121 1,350 1,517 1,653 1,757 1,922 2,008 2,022 2,062 2,235 2,443
    25 to 29 years old 407 577 770 908 878 883 1,013 1,137 1,162 1,208 1,400 1,509
    30 to 34 years old 100 251 387 430 422 494 465 472 469 467 514 584
    35 years old and over 134 182 471 653 599 602 684 691 694 701 714 748
Males 3,505 3,689 3,808 3,807 4,111 4,300 4,501 4,517 4,527 4,584 4,955 5,034
    14 to17 years old 124 87 71 54 51 43 65 62 63 64 67 65
    18 and 19 years old 1,265 1,270 1,230 1,091 1,250 1,329 1,327 1,277 1,297 1,315 1,427 1,379
    20 and 21 years old 990 1,109 1,055 999 1,106 1,249 1,275 1,292 1,283 1,294 1,419 1,408
    22 to 24 years old 650 665 742 789 839 854 936 977 975 986 1,043 1,122
    25 to 29 years old 327 360 401 454 415 397 467 479 482 500 564 596
    30 to 34 years old 72 124 156 183 195 216 183 184 180 179 191 213
    35 years old and over 75 74 152 238 256 212 247 247 245 247 244 251

TABLE 4.2 Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by attendance status, age sex, selected years, 1970–2014 (CONTINUED) "Table 173. Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions, by Attendance Status, Age, and Sex: Selected Years, 1970 to 2014," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_173.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)

TABLE 4.2
Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by attendance status, age, and sex, selected years, 1970–2014 (Continued)
[In thousands]
Age and sex 1970a 1980a 1990a 1995a 2000b 2001b 2002b Projectedb
2003 2004 2005 2010 2014
aInstitutions that were accredited by an agency or association that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or recognized directly by the Secretary of Education.
bData are for 4-year and 2-year degree-granting institutions that were participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs.
Note: Distributions by age are estimates based on samples of the civilian noninstiutional population. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: "Table 173. Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions, by Attendance Status, Age, and Sex: Selected Years, 1970 to 2014," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_173.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)
Females 2,311 3,409 4,013 4,321 4,899 5,148 5,445 5,638 5,776 5,899 6,608 6,868
    14 to 17 years old 117 136 73 69 74 78 96 92 98 98 107 109
    18 and 19 years old 1,140 1,399 1,318 1,296 1,682 1,600 1,615 1,633 1,716 1,729 1,926 1,887
    20 and 21 years old 657 966 1,096 1,111 1,296 1,413 1,484 1,491 1,499 1,546 1,754 1,770
    22 to 24 years old 231 456 608 729 814 903 985 1,032 1,047 1,076 1,193 1,321
    25 to 29 years old 80 217 369 455 463 486 546 659 679 708 836 913
    30 to 34 years old 28 127 231 247 227 277 282 288 289 288 323 371
    35 years old and over 59 108 319 415 343 390 437 444 448 454 470 498
Part-time 2,765 4,999 5,998 6,133 6,303 6,480 6,665 6,755 6,792 7,867 7,253 7,568
14 to 17 years old 17 38 32 25 20 11 41 38 39 39 42 41
18 and 19 years old 194 418 402 507 599 666 628 641 656 662 715 686
20 and 21 years old 233 441 610 596 644 746 607 609 608 616 675 667
22 to 24 years old 576 844 794 894 964 1,003 1,010 1,054 1,127 1,166 1,324 1,404
25 to 29 years old 668 1,209 1,213 1,212 1,083 1,132 1,088 1,107 1,127 1,166 1,324 1,404
30 to 34 years old 388 905 935 805 843 796 835 839 830 823 885 989
35 years old and over 689 1,145 2,012 2,093 2,150 2,126 2,456 2,467 2,467 2,480 2,464 2,539
Males 1,540 2,185 2,476 2,535 2,611 2,661 2,701 2,742 2,741 2,772 2,917 3,050
    14 to 17 years old 5 17 16 7 11 11 17 18 18 18 19 19
    18 and 19 years old 84 202 191 246 333 300 288 298 303 307 333 323
    20 and 21 years old 105 201 313 283 276 342 287 291 289 292 320 318
    22 to 24 years old 314 392 365 365 454 458 405 424 426 432 455 495
    25 to 29 years old 456 594 539 508 447 508 423 431 435 450 507 538
    30 to 34 years old 236 397 381 378 332 294 364 363 357 354 378 423
    35 years old and over 340 382 672 748 757 749 917 917 913 919 905 935
Females 1,225 2,814 3,521 3,598 3,692 3,820 3,964 4,013 4,050 4,096 4,336 4,518
    14 to 17 years old 12 20 17 18 9 1 24 20 21 21 22 22
    18 and 19 years old 110 215 211 261 266 366 340 343 353 355 382 363
    20 and 21 years old 128 240 297 313 368 404 320 319 318 324 355 349
    22 to 24 years old 262 452 429 529 510 545 605 630 639 649 693 748
    25 to 29 years old 212 616 674 704 636 624 666 677 692 716 817 866
    30 to 34 years old 151 507 554 427 511 502 471 476 473 469 507 566
    35 years old and over 349 762 1,340 1,345 1,393 1,377 1,539 1,550 1,554 1,561 1,560 1,604

from gender and age to minority status. Over the past thirty years a dramatic shift has been seen in the gender makeup of fall enrollees at degree-granting institutions. In 1976 male students predominated on college campuses, with 5.8 million (52.7%) of the eleven million fall enrollees being men that year compared with 5.2 million female students (47.3%). By 1990 male students made up 45.5% of fall enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities (6.3 million out of a total enrollment of 13.8 million), and women accounted for 54.5% of college students (7.5 million). This trend continued through the 1990s, and in 2000 male students comprised only 43.9% (6.7 million out of 15.3 million) of fall enrollees, while women increased to 56.1% (8.6 million). The proportions in 2002 remained nearly steady at 43.4% (7.2 million out of 16.6 million) for men and 56.6% (9.4 million) for women. (See Table 4.3.)

Increased female enrollment has contributed to overall growth in college enrollment. From 1990 through 2002 male enrollment increased from 6.3 million to 7.2 million (a 14.6% increase), while the number of females rose by 24.9%, from 7.5 million to 9.4 million. Between 2002 and 2014 female enrollment is projected to increase 21%, to 11.4 million, while male enrollment is expected to rise 12.2% to 8.1 million. (See Table 4.2.)

OLDER STUDENTS

Since 1970 there has been a significant increase in the percentage of older students enrolled in college. In 1970, 27.8% of the 8.6 million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions were aged twenty-five or older. That figure includes one million (12.5%) who were between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine, 487,000 (5.7%) who were aged thirty to thirty-four, and 823,000 students (9.6%) who were aged thirty-five or older. By fall 2002, 6.5 million (39.4%) of the total 16.6 million full- and part-time college enrollees were aged twenty-five or more. This included 2.1 million students (12.7%) who were between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine, 1.3 million students (7.8%) who were aged thirty to thirty-four, and 3.1 million (18.9%) who were thirty-five or older. From 2002 to 2014 the National Center for Education Statistics projects a rise of 16.1% (from roughly ten million to 11.7 million) in enrollments of people twenty-four and under and only a 4.7% increase (from 3.1 million to 3.3 million) in the number of those thirty-five and over. (See Table 4.2.)

The increased enrollment of older students may reflect the higher education levels required by many occupations and the return to school of those who had previously left school to work. Historically, older students generally begin or return to degree programs in order to handle involuntary career transitions or to upgrade their skills in order to advance at their current jobs or prepare to seek new employment.

MINORITY ENROLLMENT

The enrollment of minority students (non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives) in higher education has been rising steadily. In 1976, of the eleven million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions, 1.7 million (15.4%) were from minority groups, compared to 28.2% in 2000 (4.3 million of 15.3 million) and 29.3% in 2002 (4.9 million of 16.6 million). Much of the increase can be traced to larger numbers of Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander students, who made up about 22% of minority enrollment in institutions of higher education during 2002 (1.1 million of the minority student population of 4.9 million). (See Table 4.3.)

While white students still comprise a large majority of college students (11.1 million of 16.6 million in 2002), the trend is toward more racial and ethnic diversity on campuses. In 1976 white students made up 82.6% of higher education enrollment (nine million of a total enrollment of eleven million). In 2002, of the 16.6 million people attending college, whites accounted for 66.7% (11.1 million); blacks, 18.2% (two million); Hispanics, 10.2% (1.7 million); Asian or Pacific Islanders, 6.6% (1.1 million); and Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, 1.2% (166,000). (See Table 4.3.)

Between 1976 and 2002 the number of white students rose from 9.1 million to 11.1 million (22.7%) and the number of African-American students by 91.5% (from just over one million to just under two million). Other minority groups increased by even higher proportions: Native Americans/Alaskan Natives more than doubled (76,100 to 165,900), Hispanics more than quadrupled (383,800 to 1.7 million), and Asian/Pacific Islanders increased by 433% (197,900 to 1.1 million). Women increased enrollment by 81.3% between 1976 and 2002 (5.2 million to 9.4 million), compared with a 24.3% increase for men (5.8 million to 7.2 million). (See Table 4.3.)

Types of Degrees

Students can earn a variety of vocational certifications and college degrees. Associate degrees are usually awarded by junior colleges or community colleges after about two years of course work. Private institutions, as well as community and junior colleges, award vocational degrees. These degrees prepare people for specific jobs, such as court reporter, legal assistant, or computer programmer. Bachelor's degrees usually take a minimum of four years to complete. Private and public universities also award advanced master's, doctoral, or professional (doctor or lawyer) degrees.

HOWMANY?

At the end of the 2002–03 school year, a total of 632,912 associate degrees (497,132 from public institutions, and 135,780 from private institutions), 1.35 million bachelor's degrees, 512,645 master's degrees, and 46,024 doctoral degrees were awarded. (See Table 4.4.) A gender analysis of degrees conferred indicates

TABLE 4.3 Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002

TABLE 4.3
Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002
Race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student Fall enrollment, in thousands Percentaae distribution of students
1976 1980 1990 1996 1999* 2000 2001 2002 1976 1980 1990 1996 1999 2000 2001 2002
All students
    Total 10,985.6 12,086.8 13,818.6 14,367.5 14,791.2 15,312.3 15,928.0 16,611.7 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 9,076.1 9,833.0 10,722.5 10,263.9 10,282.1 10,462.1 10,774.5 11,140.2 82.6 81.4 77.6 71.4 69.5 68.3 67.6 67.1
    Total minority 1,690.8 1,948.8 2,704.7 3,637.4 4,020.7 4,321.5 4,588.2 4,880.5 15.4 16.1 19.6 25.3 27.2 28.2 28.8 29.4
        Black, non-Hispanic 1,033.0 1,106.8 1,247.0 1,505.6 1,643.2 1,730.3 1,850.4 1,978.7 9.4 9.2 9.0 10.5 11.1 11.3 11.6 11.9
        Hispanic 383.8 471.7 782.4 1,166.1 1,319.1 1,461.8 1,560.6 1,661.7 3.5 3.9 5.7 8.1 8.9 9.5 9.8 10.0
        Asian or Pacific Islander 197.9 286.4 572.4 828.2 913.0 978.2 1,019.0 1,074.2 1.8 2.4 4.1 5.8 6.2 6.4 6.4 6.5
        American Indian/Alaska Native 76.1 83.9 102.8 137.6 145.5 151.2 158.2 165.9 0.7 0.7 0.7 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Nonresident alien 218.7 305.0 391.5 466.3 488.5 528.7 565.3 590.9 2.0 2.5 2.8 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.6
Male 5,794.4 5,868.1 6,283.9 6,352.8 6,490.6 6,721.8 6,960.8 7,202.1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 4,813.7 4,772.9 4,861.0 4,552.2 4,551.1 4,634.6 4,762.3 4,897.9 83.1 81.3 77.4 71.7 70.1 68.9 68.4 68.0
    Total minority 826.6 884.4 1,176.6 1,533.4 1,663.6 1,789.8 1,881.1 1,977.2 14.3 15.1 18.7 24.1 25.6 26.6 27.0 27.5
        Black, non-Hispanic 469.9 463.7 484.7 564.1 604.2 635.3 672.4 708.6 8.1 7.9 7.7 8.9 9.3 9.5 9.7 9.8
        Hispanic 209.7 231.6 353.9 506.6 563.6 627.1 664.2 699.0 3.6 3.9 5.6 8.0 8.7 9.3 9.5 9.7
        Asian or Pacific Islander 108.4 151.3 294.9 405.5 437.1 465.9 480.8 503.9 1.9 2.6 4.7 6.4 6.7 6.9 6.9 7.0
        American Indian/Alaska Native 38.5 37.8 43.1 57.2 58.6 61.4 63.6 65.7 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
    Nonresident alien 154.1 210.8 246.3 267.2 276.0 297.3 317.4 327.0 2.7 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.6 4.5
Female 5,191.2 6,218.7 7,534.7 8,014.7 8,300.6 8,590.5 8,967.2 9,409.6 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 4,262.4 5,060.1 5,861.5 5,711.7 5,731.0 5,827.5 6,012.2 6,242.3 82.1 81.4 77.8 71.3 69.0 67.8 67.0 66.3
    Total minority 864.2 1,064.4 1,528.1 2,104.0 2,357.2 2,531.7 2,707.1 2,903.3 16.6 17.1 20.3 26.3 28.4 29.5 30.2 30.9
        Black, non-Hispanic 563.1 643.0 762.3 941.4 1,038.9 1,095.0 1,178.0 1,270.2 10.8 10.3 10.1 11.7 12.5 12.7 13.1 13.5
        Hispanic 174.1 240.1 428.5 659.5 755.5 834.7 896.4 962.7 3.4 3.9 5.7 8.2 9.1 9.7 10.0 10.2
        Asian or Pacific Islander 89.4 135.2 277.5 422.6 475.8 512.3 538.3 570.2 1.7 2.2 3.7 5.3 5.7 6.0 6.0 6.1
        American Indian/Alaska Native 37.6 46.1 59.7 80.4 86.8 89.7 94.5 100.2 0.7 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.1 1.1
    Nonresident alien 64.6 94.2 145.2 199.0 212.4 231.4 247.8 263.9 1.2 1.5 1.9 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.8
Full-time 6,703.6 7,088.9 7,821.0 8,303.0 8,786.5 9,009.6 9,447.5 9,946.4 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 5,512.6 5,717.0 6,016.5 5,906.1 6,147.1 6,231.1 6,478.1 6,764.2 82.2 80.6 76.9 71.1 70.0 69.2 68.6 68.0
    Total minority 1,030.9 1,137.5 1,514.9 2,046.8 2,263.6 2,368.5 2,530.7 2,721.8 15.4 16.0 19.4 24.7 25.8 26.3 26.8 27.4
        Black, non-Hispanic 659.2 685.6 718.3 871.9 948.1 982.6 1,059.4 1,144.2 9.8 9.7 9.2 10.5 10.8 10.9 11.2 11.5
        Hispanic 211.1 247.0 394.7 588.8 668.5 710.3 761.9 825.1 3.1 3.5 5.0 7.1 7.6 7.9 8.1 8.3
        Asian or Pacific Islander 117.7 162.0 347.4 508.5 563.8 591.2 619.9 657.4 1.8 2.3 4.4 6.1 6.4 6.6 6.6 6.6
        American Indian/Alaska Native 43.0 43.0 54.4 77.5 83.2 84.4 89.5 95.1 0.6 0.6 0.7 9.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 1.0
    Nonresident alien 160.0 234.4 289.6 350.1 375.8 410.0 438.7 460.4 2.4 3.3 3.7 4.2 4.3 4.6 4.6 4.6
Part-time 4,282.1 4,997.9 5,997.7 6,064.6 6,004.7 6,302.7 6,480.5 6,665.4 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 3,563.5 4,116.0 4,706.0 4,357.8 4,135.0 4,231.0 4,296.4 4,376.0 83.2 82.4 78.5 71.9 68.9 67.1 66.3 65.7
    Total minority 659.9 811.3 1,189.8 1,590.6 1,757.1 1,953.0 2,057.5 2,158.7 15.4 16.2 19.8 26.2 29.3 31.0 31.7 32.4
        Black, non-Hispanic 373.8 421.2 528.7 633.6 695.1 747.7 791.1 834.6 8.7 8.4 8.8 10.4 11.6 11.9 12.2 12.5
        Hispanic 172.7 224.8 387.7 577.3 650.6 751.5 798.7 836.6 4.0 4.5 6.5 9.5 10.8 11.9 12.3 12.6
        Asian or Pacific Islander 80.2 124.4 225.1 319.6 349.1 387.1 399.2 416.8 1.9 2.5 3.8 5.3 5.8 6.1 6.2 6.3
        American Indian/Alaska Native 33.1 40.9 48.4 60.0 62.3 66.8 68.6 70.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1
    Nonresident alien 58.7 70.6 101.8 116.2 112.7 118.7 126.5 130.6 1.4 1.4 1.7 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.0 2.0

TABLE 4.3 Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002 (CONTINUED)

TABLE 4.3
Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002 (CONTINUED)
Race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student Fall enrollment, in thousands Percentaae distribution of students
1976 1980 1990 1996 1999* 2000 2001 2002 1976 1980 1990 1996 1999 2000 2001 2002
Undergraduate
    Total 9,419.0 10,469.1 11,959.1 12,326.9 12,681.2 13,155.4 13,715.6 14,257.1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 7,740.5 8,480.7 9,272.6 8,769.5 8,805.7 8,983.5 9,278.7 9,564.9 82.2 81.0 77.5 71.1 69.4 68.3 67.7 67.1
    Total minority 1,535.3 1,778.5 2,467.7 3,282.1 3,605.3 3,884.0 4,130.2 4,376.2 16.3 17.0 20.6 26.6 28.4 29.5 30.1 30.7
        Black, non-Hispanic 943.4 1,018.8 1,147.2 1,358.6 1,471.9 1,548.9 1,657.1 1,763.8 10.0 9.7 9.6 11.0 11.6 11.8 12.1 12.4
        Hispanic 352.9 433.1 724.6 1,079.4 1,214.0 1,351.0 1,444.4 1,533.3 3.7 4.1 6.1 8.8 9.6 10.3 10.5 10.8
        Asian or Pacific Islander 169.3 248.7 500.5 717.6 786.0 845.5 883.9 927.4 1.8 2.4 4.2 5.8 6.2 6.4 6.4 6.5
        American Indian/Alaska Native 69.7 77.9 95.5 126.5 133.4 138.5 144.8 151.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Nonresident alien 143.2 209.9 218.7 275.3 270.3 288.0 306.7 316.0 1.5 2.0 1.8 2.2 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.2
Male 4,896.8 4,997.4 5,379.8 5,420.7 5,559.5 5,778.3 6,004.4 6,192.4 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 4,052.2 4,054.9 4,184.4 3,890.8 3,919.7 4,010.1 4,139.6 4,245.6 82.8 81.1 77.8 71.8 70.5 69.4 68.9 68.6
    Total minority 748.2 802.7 1,069.3 1,384.1 1,498.0 1,618.0 1,705.9 1,787.1 15.3 16.1 19.9 25.5 26.9 28.0 28.4 28.9
        Black, non-Hispanic 430.7 428.2 448.0 513.6 548.4 577.0 611.7 642.2 8.8 8.6 8.3 9.5 9.9 10.0 10.2 10.4
        Hispanic 191.7 211.2 326.9 469.2 520.6 582.6 618.5 649.2 3.9 4.2 6.1 8.7 9.4 10.1 10.3 10.5
        Asian or Pacific Islander 91.1 128.5 254.5 348.8 375.0 401.9 417.2 435.4 1.9 2.6 4.7 6.4 6.7 7.0 6.9 7.0
        American Indian/Alaska Native 34.8 34.8 39.9 52.4 53.9 56.4 58.5 60.3 0.7 0.7 0.7 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
    Nonresident alien 96.4 139.8 126.1 145.8 141.8 150.2 158.9 159.7 2.0 2.8 2.3 2.7 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6
Female 4,522.1 5,471.7 6,579.3 6,906.3 7,121.8 7,377.1 7,711.2 8,064.7 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 3,688.3 4,425.8 5,088.2 4,878.7 4,886.0 4,973.3 5,139.0 5,319.3 81.6 80.9 77.3 70.6 68.6 67.4 66.6 66.0
    Total minority 787.0 975.8 1,398.5 1,898.1 2,107.4 2,266.0 2,424.4 2,589.1 17.4 17.8 21.3 27.5 29.6 30.7 31.4 32.1
        Black, non-Hispanic 512.7 590.6 699.2 845.0 923.5 971.9 1,045.4 1,121.6 11.3 10.8 10.6 12.2 13.0 13.2 13.6 13.9
        Hispanic 161.2 221.8 397.6 610.1 693.4 768.4 825.9 884.1 3.6 4.1 6.0 8.8 9.7 10.4 10.7 11.0
        Asian or Pacific Islander 78.2 120.2 246.0 368.8 411.0 443.6 466.7 492.0 1.7 2.2 3.7 5.3 5.8 6.0 6.1 6.1
        American Indian/Alaska Native 34.9 43.1 55.5 74.1 79.5 82.1 86.3 91.4 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
    Nonresident alien 46.8 70.1 92.6 129.5 128.4 137.8 147.8 156.3 1.0 1.3 1.4 1.9 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.9
Graduate
    Total 1,322.5 1,340.9 1,586.2 1,742.3 1,806.8 1,850.3 1,903.7 2,035.7 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 1,115.6 1,104.7 1,228.4 1,272.6 1,256.5 1,258.5 1,275.1 1,348.0 84.4 82.4 77.4 73.0 69.5 68.0 67.0 66.2
    Total minority 134.5 144.0 190.5 286.3 339.8 359.4 378.5 421.0 10.2 10.7 12.0 16.4 18.8 19.4 19.9 20.7
        Black, non-Hispanic 78.5 75.1 83.9 125.5 148.7 157.9 169.4 189.6 5.9 5.6 5.3 7.2 8.2 8.5 8.9 9.3
        Hispanic 26.4 32.1 47.2 72.8 90.4 95.4 100.5 112.3 2.0 2.4 3.0 4.2 5.0 5.2 5.3 5.5
        Asian or Pacific Islander 24.5 31.6 53.2 79.1 90.7 95.8 97.4 107.1 1.9 2.4 3.4 4.5 5.0 5.2 5.1 5.3
        American Indian/Alaska Native 5.1 5.2 6.2 8.9 10.0 10.3 11.2 11.9 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Nonresident alien 72.4 92.2 167.3 183.3 210.6 232.3 250.1 266.6 5.5 6.9 10.5 10.5 11.7 12.6 13.1 13.1
Male 707.9 672.2 737.4 759.4 766.1 779.6 795.7 846.8 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 589.1 538.5 538.8 529.0 507.4 502.6 503.4 531.6 83.2 80.1 73.1 69.7 66.2 64.5 63.3 62.8
    Total minority 63.7 65.0 82.1 114.0 129.3 135.1 138.9 152.7 9.0 9.7 11.1 15.0 16.9 17.3 17.5 18.0
        Black, non-Hispanic 32.0 28.2 29.3 41.2 46.7 48.9 51.5 56.7 4.5 4.2 4.0 5.4 6.1 6.3 6.5 6.7
        Hispanic 14.6 15.7 20.6 29.6 35.2 36.5 37.8 41.7 2.1 2.3 2.8 3.9 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.9
        Asian or Pacific Islander 14.4 18.6 29.7 39.7 43.7 45.8 45.6 50.0 2.0 2.8 4.0 5.2 5.7 5.9 5.7 5.9
        American Indian/Alaska Native 2.7 2.5 2.6 3.6 3.7 3.8 4.1 4.3 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
    Nonresident alien 55.1 68.7 116.4 116.4 129.4 142.0 153.4 162.5 7.8 10.2 15.8 15.3 16.9 18.2 19.3 19.2
Female 614.6 668.7 848.8 982.8 1,040.7 1,070.7 1,108.0 1,188.8 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 526.5 566.2 689.5 743.6 749.1 756.0 771.7 816.4 85.7 84.7 81.2 75.7 72.0 70.6 69.6 68.7
    Total minority 70.8 79.0 108.3 172.3 210.5 224.4 239.6 268.3 11.5 11.8 12.8 17.5 20.2 21.0 21.6 22.6
        Black, non-Hispanic 46.5 46.9 54.6 84.3 102.1 109.0 117.9 132.9 7.6 7.0 6.4 8.6 9.8 10.2 10.6 11.2
        Hispanic 11.8 16.4 26.6 43.2 55.2 58.8 62.8 70.6 1.9 2.4 3.1 4.4 5.3 5.5 5.7 5.9
        Asian or Pacific Islander 10.1 13.0 23.6 39.4 46.9 50.0 51.8 57.1 1.6 1.9 2.8 4.0 4.5 4.7 4.7 4.8
        American Indian/Alaska Native 2.4 2.7 3.6 5.3 6.3 6.5 7.1 7.7 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
    Nonresident alien 17.3 23.5 50.9 66.9 81.1 90.3 96.7 104.1 2.8 3.5 6.0 6.8 7.8 8.4 8.7 8.8

TABLE 4.3 Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002 (CONTINUED) "Table 206. Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, Attendance Status, and Level of Student: Selected Years, 1976 to 2002," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_206.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)

TABLE 4.3
Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student, selected years, 1976–2002 (CONTINUED)
Race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student Fall enrollment, in thousands Percentage distribution of students
1976 1980 1990 1996 1999* 2000 2001 2002 1976 1980 1990 1996 1999 2000 2001 2002
*Data were imputed using alternative procedures.
Note: Because of underreporting and nonreporting of racial/ethnic data, some figures are slightly lower than corresponding data in other tables. Data for 1976 through 1990 are for institutions of higher education. Data for 1996 and later years are for degree-granting institutions. Institutions of higher education were accredited by an agency or association that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or recognized directly by the Secretary of Education. The new degree-granting classification is very similar to the earlier higher education classification, except that it includes some additional institutions, primarily 2-year colleges, and excludes a few higher education institutions that did not award associate's or higher degrees. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: "Table 206. Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, Attendance Status, and Level of Student: Selected Years, 1976 to 2002," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_206.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)
First-professional
    Total 244.1 276.8 273.4 298.3 303.2 306.6 308.6 319.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 220.0 247.7 221.5 221.7 219.9 220.1 220.8 227.4 90.1 89.5 81.0 74.3 72.5 71.8 71.5 71.3
    Total minority 21.1 26.3 46.5 69.0 75.6 78.1 79.5 83.3 8.6 9.5 17.0 23.1 24.9 25.5 25.7 26.1
        Black, non-Hispanic 11.2 12.8 15.9 21.5 22.5 23.5 23.9 25.3 4.6 4.6 5.8 7.2 7.4 7.7 7.8 7.9
        Hispanic 4.5 6.5 10.7 13.9 14.7 15.4 15.6 16.1 1.9 2.4 3.9 4.7 4.9 5.0 5.1 5.1
        Asian or Pacific Islander 4.1 6.1 18.7 31.4 36.3 36.8 37.7 39.6 1.7 2.2 6.8 10.5 12.0 12.0 12.2 12.4
        American Indian/Alaska Native 1.3 0.8 1.1 2.2 2.1 2.3 2.1 2.2 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.7
Nonresident alien 3.1 2.9 5.4 7.6 7.6 8.4 8.4 8.3 1.3 1.0 2.0 2.6 2.5 2.7 2.7 2.6
Male 189.6 198.5 166.8 172.7 165.1 163.9 160.7 162.9 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 172.4 179.5 137.8 132.3 124.0 122.0 119.3 120.7 90.9 90.5 82.6 76.6 75.1 74.4 74.2 74.1
    Total minority 14.7 16.7 25.3 35.4 36.4 36.8 36.3 37.4 7.7 8.4 15.1 20.5 22.0 22.4 22.6 22.9
        Black, non-Hispanic 7.2 7.4 7.4 9.4 9.1 9.5 9.3 9.7 3.8 3.7 4.4 5.4 5.5 5.8 5.8 6.0
        Hispanic 3.5 4.6 6.4 7.7 7.7 8.0 7.9 8.1 1.8 2.3 3.8 4.5 4.7 4.9 4.9 5.0
        Asian or Pacific Islander 2.9 4.1 10.8 17.1 18.4 18.1 18.1 18.5 1.5 2.1 6.5 9.9 11.1 11.1 11.2 11.3
        American Indian/Alaska Native 1.0 0.5 0.6 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
    Nonresident alien 2.5 2.3 3.8 5.1 4.7 5.1 5.1 4.8 1.3 1.1 2.3 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.2 2.9
Female 54.5 78.4 106.6 125.6 138.1 142.7 148.0 156.1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    White, non-Hispanic 47.6 68.1 83.7 89.4 95.9 98.1 101.5 106.6 87.3 86.9 78.5 71.2 69.4 68.7 68.6 68.3
    Total minority 6.4 9.6 21.3 33.6 39.3 41.3 43.1 46.0 11.7 12.3 20.0 26.8 28.5 28.9 29.1 29.4
        Black, non-Hispanic 3.9 5.5 8.5 12.1 13.4 14.0 14.6 15.6 7.2 7.0 8.0 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 10.0
        Hispanic 1.0 1.9 4.3 6.2 7.0 7.4 7.7 8.0 1.9 2.4 4.0 4.9 5.0 5.2 5.2 5.2
        Asian or Pacific Islander 1.1 2.0 7.9 14.4 17.9 18.7 19.7 21.2 2.1 2.6 7.4 11.4 13.0 13.1 13.3 13.5
        American Indian/Alaska Native 0.2 0.3 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2 0.4 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.7
    Nonresident alien 0.5 0.6 1.6 2.6 2.9 3.3 3.4 3.5 1.0 0.8 1.5 2.0 2.1 2.3 2.3 2.3

TABLE 4.4 Degrees conferred by public and private degree-granting institutions, by level of degree, and discipline division, 2002–03 "Table 255. Degrees Conferred by Degree-granting Institutions, by Control of Institution, Level of Degree, and Discipline Division: 2002–03," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_255.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)

TABLE 4.4
Degrees conferred by public and private degree-granting institutions, by level of degree, and discipline division, 2002–03
Discipline division Public institutions Private institutions
Associate"s degrees Bacheior"s degrees Master"s degrees Doctor"s degreesa Associate"s degrees Bacheior"s degrees Master"s degrees Doctor"s degreesa
aIncludes Ph.D., Ed.D., and comparable degrees at the doctoral level. Excludes first-professional degrees, such as M.D., D.D.S., and law degrees.
bExcludes "construction trades" and "mechanics and repairers," which are listed separately.
Note: To facilitate trend comparisons, certain aggregations have been made of the degree fields as reported in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Fall Survey: "agriculture and natural resources" includes agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences and natural resources and conservation; and "business" includes business management, marketing, and related support services and personal and culinary services.
SOURCE: "Table 255. Degrees Conferred by Degree-granting Institutions, by Control of Institution, Level of Degree, and Discipline Division: 2002–03," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_255.asp (accessed January 10, 2006)
    All fields, total 497,132 875,420 265,695 28,069 135,780 473,083 246,950 17,955
Agriculture and natural resources 5,905 20,518 3,887 1,142 303 2,776 605 87
Architecture and related services 386 6,839 3,185 88 54 2,215 1,740 64
Area, ethnic, cultural, and gender studies 120 3,944 908 87 6 2,685 601 99
Biological and biomedical sciences 1,413 40,227 4,455 3,444 83 19,845 2,535 1,559
Business 65,440 171,564 49,535 650 36,717 121,981 78,010 601
Communications, journalism, and related programs 1,669 47,056 3,079 316 933 20,803 2,974 78
Communications technologies 2,634 834 89 0 666 1,099 353 4
Computer and information sciences 23,731 30,509 9,378 485 22,358 26,930 10,125 331
Construction trades 2,433 95 0 0 568 71 0 0
Education 9,778 75,084 80,062 4,444 1,421 30,706 67,386 2,391
Engineering 1,528 47,468 19,901 3,731 648 15,143 8,436 1,545
Engineering technologiesb 22,436 10,484 1,529 18 17,521 3,872 803 39
English language and literature/letters 870 37,115 5,216 919 26 16,555 2,197 327
Family and consumer sciences 8,905 15,350 1,207 251 566 2,816 403 121
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics 990 11,383 2,284 630 60 5,518 765 412
Health professions and related clinical sciences 72,036 46,286 22,491 1,540 18,500 24,937 20,224 1,788
Legal professions and studies 4,452 1,407 911 16 3,938 1,059 3,215 89
Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities 208,013 28,139 1,578 26 8,801 12,082 1,734 52
Library science 86 94 4,384 62 1 5 930 0
Mathematics and statistics 721 8,136 2,748 682 11 4,357 878 325
Mechanics and repair technologies 8,346 104 0 0 3,648 30 0 0
Military technologies 85 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Multi/interdisciplinary studies 13,823 20,783 2,220 441 244 7,974 1,560 458
Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies 678 16,484 2,366 177 133 4,944 612 22
Philosophy and religious studies 91 4,217 481 235 288 6,127 1,097 427
Physical sciences and science technologies 2,139 11,853 3,732 2,759 51 6,087 1,377 1,099
Precision production 2,086 14 0 0 193 28 3 0
Psychology 1,653 52,516 7,078 2,219 131 26,097 10,045 2,612
Public administration and social service professions 3,232 13,106 16,159 339 301 6,772 9,735 257
Security and protective services 16,212 19,216 1,560 67 2,359 6,973 1,395 5
Social sciences and history 5,515 93,396 9,169 2,437 223 49,822 5,465 1,413
    Social sciences 5,213 75,761 7,281 1,894 209 39,727 4,828 1,095
    History 302 17,635 1,888 543 14 10,095 637 318
Theology and religious vocations 0 0 0 0 425 7,926 5,099 1,321
Transportation and materials moving 803 1,932 89 0 399 2,635 676 0
Visual and performing arts 8,923 39,261 6,014 864 14,204 32,213 5,972 429

that more women than men earned associate, bachelor"s, and master"s degrees, but more men than women earned doctoral degrees. According to the Digest of Education Statistics 2004, in 2002–03, 379,852 women earned associate"s degrees, compared with 253,060 men; 775,424 women earned bachelor"s degrees, compared with 573,079 men; 301,264 women earned master"s degrees, compared with 211,381 men; and 21,683 women earned doctoral degrees, compared with 24,341 men. The National Center for Education Statistics predicted that this trend will remain similar through 2014.

Despite the growth in enrollment, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic students were underrepresented in attaining college degrees. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics released as part of the Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, in the 2002–03 school year, for example, while African-American and Hispanic students made up 24.2% of the undergraduate student body (411,000 of 1.7 million), they earned only about 15.8% of all bachelor"s degrees for that year (213,271 of 1.3 million). Similarly, minorities were underrepresented at the master"s, doctoral, and first-professional degree levels.

Get information on degree programs, masters degrees and online degrees at CampusExplorer.com

Of the 1.35 million bachelor"s degrees conferred in the 2002–03 school year, 293,545 (21.8%) were for business, while 143,218 (10.6%) were awarded for social sciences, and 105,790 (7.8%) were for education. Computer and information sciences, virtually unknown a generation ago, accounted for 57,439 bachelor"s degrees (4.3%), which was more than the 53,670 degrees awarded for English language and literature (4%) but less than the 78,613 (5.8%) earned in psychology or the 71,474 (5.3%) conferred in visual and performing arts (Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/xls/tabn250.xls).

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