The U.S. Department of Education’s Stats in Brief report for October 2011 presents updated NCES based research on the types of students engaging in distance learning (defined now as online, or live and interactive video/audio instruction through CD/DVD or webcast), and changes in distance learning over time. Distance education degree programs are those that utilize such classes exclusively.
The report found that, between 2000 and 2008, the percentage of undergraduate students enrolled in at least one distance education course increased from 8 percent to 20 percent, and enrollment in distance education degree programs doubled, from 2 percent of all undergraduates to 4 percent. Other interesting findings included:
- Computer Science and Business majors have the highest rates of enrollment in distance education courses (27 percent and 24 percent vs. 20 percent, on average) and in distance degree programs (8 percent and 6 percent vs. 4 percent, on average). General studies, education and health care majors also have higher levels of enrollment in distance learning, while math, natural sciences, agriculture and humanities students are least likely to enroll.
- Participation in distance education courses is highest for students in associate’s degree programs (25 percent), followed by bachelor’s (17 percent) and certificate programs (13 percent).
- 12 percent of students attending for-profit schools were enrolled in distance education degree programs, compared to 3 percent of undergraduates at other types of institutions.
- Nontraditional students are most likely to participate in distance learning: 56 percent of students 24 and older took distance education courses compared to 15 percent of students age 23 or younger, and 55 percent of students in distance education degree programs had at least one dependent. Furthermore, 62 percent of students in distance degree programs work full time.
To read more about this study, check out the full report here.
The National Center for Education Statistics recently released a report entitled Projections of Education Statistics to 2019. The Center seeks to predict future trends in enrollment, completion, and diversity in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. The Center uses census data and economic forecasts to make its projections; however, such predictions are complicated to produce and always subject to unforeseen political, demographic and economic changes. Overall, the Center predicts growth in enrollment and degree completion for all levels of education, although it does not expect President Obama’s completion goals for higher education in 2020 to be met.
Major findings include:
- Total elementary and secondary school enrollment is projected to increase 6 percent by 2019, with especially large increases in the number of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American students. Western states are projected to drive much of this demographic change with a 12 percent increase in these enrollments.
- The total number of high school graduates nationally is expected to increase by 1 percent by 2019. In the West, however, the number of grads is expected to rise 9 percent.
- Enrollment in post-secondary programs is projected to increase 17 percent, to 22.4 million by 2019. Minorities again have the highest rates of increase in enrollment, with the number of Hispanic students in particular expected to increase by 45 percent.
- Women are projected to have larger growth in post-secondary enrollment between now and 2019 (21 percent) than men (12 percent).
- The number of degrees awarded is expected to increase alongside enrollment, associate’s degrees up 30 percent, bachelor’s degrees up 23 percent, master’s degrees up 34 percent, doctoral degrees 54 percent, and professional degrees 34 percent.
For more information, graphical representation of these data, and details on methodology, check out the full report. To read about some of the reactions to these data and potential limitations of the study, read Inside Higher Ed’s blog post on this topic
The Delta Cost Project has published its latest Trends in College Spending report. This year’s version reports on revenue and spending trends in higher education from 1999 to 2009, the latest year of IPEDS data available at this time. As such, this version includes the first year of the recession’s impact on higher education finances.
Overall, the report confirms several already noted trends:
- The resource gap between public and private institutions continues to grow, and is now so wide that competition between the sectors is virtually impossible (see Figure 22 on page 43 of the report linked above for a stark depiction).
- At public institutions, the share of education related spending derived from tuition revenue has increased dramatically, surpassing the contribution from state appropriations at a number of universities, including the UW.
- At public institutions, tuition increases in 2009 represented cost shifting from the public to the student and not increases in institutional spending.
- At public institutions, administrative and maintenance spending remained flat or declined while spending on instruction went up slightly, indicating that, unlike previous recessions, institutions are making cuts more strategically to help protect the core academic mission.
- Whether from improved retention or decreased extraneous course-taking, student credit hours per degree appear to have decreased between 2002 and 2009, which is one measurement of efficiency.
- At public institutions, faculty salaries have been very flat as the cost of benefits have, on average, risen by over 5 percent per year, now accounting for almost 1/4th of all compensation costs.
Overall, this report does a great job of making it clear that the majority of students attend relatively affordable, cost-effective public institutions in the United States, even though a small number of pricey private institutions dominate the public perception. It also places revenue and expenditures in the context of student enrollment and the spectrum of university activities.
One issue we have consistently had with this report is the calculation of what is called the ‘subsidy’, an attempt to measure overall cost by combining various forms of institutional revenue with state appropriations and contrasting that with tuition revenue to determine what portion of overall cost is paid by the student and what portion is subsidized for the student. Our concerns with this measure were detailed in an earlier blog post and brief, if you are interested.
A new survey conducted by Hart Research Associates for the College Board entitled One Year Out asked a representative sample of 1,507 high school graduates of the class of 2010 about their high school experience and their first year out of high school. Of the sample, 43 percent are at a four-year college, 25 percent are at a two-year college, 6 percent are in trade school, and 26 percent are not currently pursuing higher education. Despite increased college costs and the still slow economy, respondents were overwhelmingly optimistic about the value of a college education, with 86 percent asserting that college is worth the time, effort and money and 90 percent claiming that a high school diploma is no longer enough for the demands of today’s work world. Furthermore, 66 percent are very or somewhat optimistic about finding good jobs in the future. Other findings included:
- The majority of HS graduates enjoyed their high school experience, though most wished they had taken more (or more challenging) math, science and writing classes.
- 69 percent of HS graduates claimed that high school graduation requirements were very or pretty easy, and 37 percent believe they should be made more stringent.
- More than half of HS graduates enrolled in higher education found college more challenging than expected, and a quarter of those students needed non-credit remedial courses to catch up. Of respondents enrolled at two-year colleges, 37 percent took remedial classes.
- The biggest concern by far (20 percentage points above all others) was affordability: 5 in 9 students who attend college find affording higher education pretty or very challenging, and 56 percent of those who aren’t in college claim cost was a big factor in their decision not to enroll.
- Of students who did not enroll in college this year, 83 percent intend to go in the future.
To read more about this topic, check out the full report or read some of our previous blog posts on similar surveys: Recent Grads Affirm Value of College Education and Americans Struggling Economically, Worried About Affordable Higher Ed.
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has published a report entitled “The College Payoff” which calculates the lifetime median earnings of workers at various levels of educational attainment. As could be expected, the more degrees a worker has, the more they will earn, on average, in their lifetime. This holds true even for workers with different degrees in the same jobs: An accountant with an associate’s degree will make $1,636,000 in their lifetime, while earnings for the same position rise to $2,422,000 for a worker with a bachelor’s degree, and to $3,030,000 for those with a master’s degree. Other notable findings included:
- Holding a Bachelor’s degree results in a median lifetime income of $2.8 million, 84 percent higher than a worker with a high school diploma
- Workers with a professional degree make almost four times as much as workers without a high school diploma in their lifetimes ($3,648,000 versus $973,000)
- Women working full-time, full-year make 25 percent less over their lifetimes than men with the same level of educational attainment. In order to make more than a man with a bachelor’s degree, a woman must hold a doctoral or professional degree.
- Latinos make on average 34 percent less than white workers, African American workers make 23 percent less, and workers of other races and ethnicities (Native American, Pacific Islander) make 22 percent less. Asian Americans, however, make roughly the same amount as white workers.
To read more about the report, check out Inside Higher Ed’s analysis: “Degrees of Wealth.” Also read our previous blog posts about the Center’s two preceding reports on this same topic: Help Wanted, and The Undereducated American.
Education Sector, an education policy think tank, recently released a report entitled “Debt to Degree,” which measures the ratio of student and parent, government-backed loans taken by students to the number of credentials awarded by an institution per year. Based on this, the report concludes that:
- Across all institutions and sectors, for each degree awarded in 2008/2009, $18,102 was borrowed
- Degree to credential ratios varied considerably across institution types: On average, families at four-year public institutions borrowed $16,247 per degree, compared to $21,827 at private four-years, and $43,383 at for-profit schools
- Among elite research universities, Princeton, with its no-loan financial aid policy, had the lowest debt to credential ratio ($2,385), while NYU had the highest ratio ($25,886), due to its small endowment and less wealthy student body
- Washington state has one of the lowest borrowing to credential ratios in the nation, with debt to degree ratios in the $5,000 to $9,999 range
Note that the study excluded private loans and Perkins loans, which some argue might mask even larger debt burdens, particularly at for-profit schools where institutional financial aid is limited. To read more about the study, including its limitations, check out the Chronicle’s and Inside Higher Ed’s articles.
The Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at California State University, Sacramento recently released a report titled “Consequences of Neglect: Performance Trends in California Higher Education.” The report claims that, although California is considered the world’s leader in public higher education, the state’s college and university system is closer to average—and may be declining.
The report uses six measures of higher education quality and access—preparation, affordability, participation, completion, benefits, and finance—to measure California’s performance in relation to other states. Their findings, if correct, are troubling:
- Preparation: The report uses graduation rates, standardized test scores, and the percentage of students taking college preparatory classes to measure preparation for college. According to the report, college preparation in California is worse than most states, particularly in rural and inland areas and for black and Latino students. However, these measures have been steadily improving over the past seven years.
- Affordability: Without taking into account room and board, the California system ranks high in affordability (largely due to the very low tuition at California community colleges), however, because of the high cost of living in California, affordability is significantly compromised. Furthermore, tuition and fees have been increasing dramatically at UC, CSU, and CCC, which will negatively impact affordability.
- Participation: One of the highlights for California is that participation in public higher education remains high (California ranks 6th in the percentage of 18-24 year old enrolled in college), though the trend is declining as tuition and fees increase.
- Completion: Although California ranks 12th in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded per 100 high school graduates, it ranks only 41st in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded per 100 high school grads. The report suggests focusing efforts on improving the transfer process from California’s two-to four-year institutions.
- Benefits: The report lists benefits from education in California as average, with high personal income tempered by low proportions of citizens with bachelor’s degrees and very low voter turnout.
- Finance: State appropriations per student FTE in California are slightly lower than the national average, and local and state funding has been steadily decreasing during and after the Great Recession.
The report urges California’s government to protect their investment in colleges and universities, long considered the best public higher education system in the world. Furthermore, it cautions policymakers not to be blinded by the stand-out performances of a select few California universities, while ignoring the vast majority of California’s higher education institutions that may be struggling.
A new study, released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center sheds light on enrollment patterns before, during, and after the Great Recession. According to the report, enrollment increased steadily from 2006 to 2009, and then decreased by 1.6 percent in 2010. The authors attribute this finding largely to a decrease in state funding for institutions, which led to significant tuition increases at many public colleges causing some middle-income families reevaluate their higher education plans.
In the West specifically, where 90 percent of students are enrolled at public colleges and universities, enrollment dropped from 467,000 students in 2009 to 455,000 in 2010. Interestingly, the West has the highest proportion of students at community colleges, with 50.8 percent attending public two-years. Furthermore, Western public four-year universities had the highest rates of retention and persistence in their region (retention being the percentage of freshmen that return to the institution the next fall, and persistence the percentage that continue their education at some higher education institution the next year), with rates of 73 percent and 85 percent, respectively.
For a more detailed discussion of the findings and limitations of the study, check out Inside Higher Ed’s summary here.
A survey carried out by The Chronicle in conjunction with Moody’s Investor Service shows college CFO’s are cautiously optimistic about future economic prospects for their institutions. The survey included 480 responses from CFO’s of public and private four-year and public two-year, nonprofit institutions. In the face of slow economic recovery from the recession, 32 percent of all CFO’s reported being more optimistic about the general U.S. economy, and 39 percent felt more optimistic about the financial prospects of their own institutions than they did a year ago. Among public four-year CFO’s, these percentages were markedly higher, with 42 percent more optimistic in general and 45 percent more optimistic for their specific institution. Further highlights from the report included:
- Overall, 60 percent of CFO’s claimed further layoffs in 2011/12 were “very unlikely,” though 19 percent of public four-year CFO’s said layoffs were still “very likely”
- Very few CFO’s are considering furloughs to cut costs, with 79 percent claiming they are “very unlikely”
- Public four-year CFO’s are about evenly split about salary freezes, with 45 percent planning to implement them, and 43 percent not planning to use this cost-cutting measure
- 18 percent of public-four year institutions reported increasing tuition by 10 percent or more in the face of steep cuts in state support
Despite the slow growth of the economy and high unemployment, some economic indicators are proving encouraging to higher education institutions—low interest rates facilitate borrowing, the stock market is up, and demand is higher than ever (83 percent of public-four years reported meeting or exceeding their enrollment targets this year). Additionally, philanthropic support is still a major component of university budgets, and most institutions plan to keep it that way, with only 12 percent of CFO’s planning to lower their annual giving goals.
Another survey by Inside Higher Ed showed college business officers a bit more optimistic. 52 percent of the business officers surveyed claimed their institutions were in good financial health, and 17 percent asserted they were in excellent health. Though most see no immediate financial emergency, 66 percent believe that potential cuts in core state funding or operating support would have a major impact on their institution’s quality. As in the Chronicle’s survey, most cited securing higher enrollment and more philanthropic support as being integral to future funding. Interestingly, 27 percent claimed they would have to lay off employees in the coming year—as opposed to 19 percent in the Chronicle’s survey.
Please follow the hyperlinks to read the full Chronicle and IHE reports, as well as the Chronicle’s and IHE’s analysis of their results.
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has released another report projecting an increasing need for college graduates in the US workforce. Like last year’s report, the new report, “The Undereducated American”, argues that there is an existing under-supply of college educated workers, evidenced by the very high college wage premium, and projects an increasing need for workers with a college education in the future, which will exacerbate this wage imbalance, as well as stunt economic growth.
The report predicts that the demand for college educated workers (including those with ‘some college’ as well as those with AA, BA and graduate degrees) will increase by about 2 percent per year between now and 2025, while the US is currently on track to increase the supply of college educated workers by only 1 percent per year. They recommend that the US produce 2.6 percent more college educated workers per year, another 20 million students total between now and 2025, to not only meet the increased demand, but to increase supply enough to bring the college wage premium down significantly (but still in line with other developed nations) and reduce overall income inequality in the US.
Most importantly, this report provides ample evidence that there is not an oversupply of college educated workers in the US economy, despite it being fashionable to assert that college might ‘no longer be worth it’ given the combination of economic distress and the rising cost of college. In fact, the college wage premium (the difference between what the average college educated worker is paid compared to a non-college educated worker) remains sky high in the US at 74 percent, contributing to growing income inequality in the US. The data show that not only do college educated workers dominate the highest paid positions in the US, but they make significantly more money than non college educated workers even within the same types of jobs.
Read the report to discover more about why they settle on the recommendation of producing 20 million more college educated workers (and a projected college wage premium closer to 46 percent), and to see detailed data on wage and employment trends by occupation and education.
← Previous Page — Next Page →