EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — November 12, 2014

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Higher Education Enrollment

Fall 2013

The Exhibits below take two different perspectives on total higher education enrollment in the United States in Fall 2013. Exhibit 1 illustrates that, in total, over 20.5 million students attended undergraduate and graduate postsecondary education in 2013, with 35 percent at the two-year level and 65 percent at the four-year level. Within four-year public institutions, 55 percent of students attended four-year institutions and 45 percent attended two-year institutions. Almost all private, non-profit students (99 percent) attended at the four-year level, while 78 percent of students attending private, for-profit institutions enrolled at a four-year school.

Flipping the axis around (Exhibit 2), 72 percent of the those 20.5 million students attended a public institution, with 19 percent attending private, non-profit and 8 percent private, for-profit institutions. For students attending four-year institutions, 61 percent attended a public institution, 29 percent a private, non-profit, and 10 percent a private, for-profit institution. Ninety-four percent of students at the two-year level attended a public institution.


Exhibit 1. Total Fall Enrollment in US Higher Education, by Type and Sector, Fall 2013


Exhibit 2. Total Fall Enrollment in US Higher Education, by Type and Sector, Fall 2013

NOTE: Less-than two-year institutions were not included in this analysis as they represent only 1.4 percent of all postsecondary enrollments.  

SOURCE: Ginder, S.A., Kelly-Reid, J.E., and Mann, F.B. (2014). Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2013; Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2013; and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2013. First Look (Provisional Data) (NCES 2015-012). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved [date] from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.