NCES Release Preliminary College Tuition and Enrollment Data

The National Center for Education Statistics has released its findings on trends in the cost of college attendance in the U.S. between the 2009-10 and 2011-12 academic years. The data collected covers both state and private institutions and includes information on tuition rates at public, non-profit, and for-profit colleges and universities.

The report shows that, unsurprisingly, the recent economic downturn has had the biggest impact on public colleges. With 40 states reporting a cut in higher education funding since 2009, university systems have been forced to raise tuition to cover budget shortfalls. As a result, on average, the price of in-state tuition at four-year public colleges went up by 9% while out-of-state tuition went up by 6%. In comparison, the cost of attending a non-profit four-year college rose by 4% over the same period, while the tuition at for-profit four-year schools didn't go up at all.

This First Look presents findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2011 data collection, which included three survey components: institutional characteristics for 2011-12 — such as degrees offered, type of program, application information, and tuition and other costs; the number and type of degrees conferred from July 2010 through June 2011; and 12-month enrollment data for the 2010-11 academic year.

The NCES looked at data from 7,398 institutions classified under Title IV in 2011-12. Of those, 3,053 were four-year colleges, 2.332 were 2-year schools and 2,013 offered less-than-2-year programs. During that time, the schools surveyed had total enrollment of nearly 30 million students and awarded 3.6 million diplomas. The vast majority of students – 25.6 million – were enrolled in undergraduate programs, and only about 3.9 million were attending graduate schools. Of the diplomas granted, 2.9 were bachelor's degrees or better, and 650,000 were associate degrees or academic certificates.

The number of four-year college degrees granted to women over the time period was more than 10% higher than the number granted to men. Over 58% of all degree recipients were female, while 42% were male. The difference was smallest in public universities, where 57% of women received degrees vs 43%, and largest in for-profit schools. More than 60% of degrees granted in for-profit schools went to women.

About 60% of all four-year degree recipients were white, 10% were African American and 8% were Hispanic or Latino. The percentage of white students getting 2-year degrees were similar, with 11% going to African-American students and 12% to Hispanic or Latino students.

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