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Characteristics of Postsecondary Institutions
(Last Updated: May 2014)

In 201213, some 26 percent of 4-year institutions had open admission policies, 26 percent accepted three-quarters or more of their applicants, 34 percent accepted one-half to less than three-quarters of their applicants, and 14 percent accepted less than half of their applicants.


Figure 1. Number of degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by level and control of institution: Academic years 200001 and 201213

Number of degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by level and control of institution: Academic years 200001 and 201213

NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Excludes institutions not enrolling any first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2000 and Fall 2012, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 305.30.


In 201213, there were 4,295 degree-granting institutions, including 2,609 4-year institutions offering programs at the bachelor's or higher degree level and 1,686 2-year institutions offering associate's degrees. These institutions may be governed by publicly appointed or elected officials, with major support from public funds (publicly controlled), or by privately elected or appointed officials, with major support from private sources (private control). All institutions in this analysis enroll first-year undergraduates. Private institutions may be operated on a nonprofit or for-profit basis. The number of private nonprofit institutions in 201213 (1,346) was 3 percent lower than in 200001 (1,383), and the number of public institutions in 201213 (1,581) was 4 percent lower than in 200001 (1,647). In contrast, the number of private for-profit institutions nearly doubled between 200001 and 201213 (from 687 to 1,368).


Figure 2. Percentage distribution of 4-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by application acceptance rate and control of institution: Academic year 201213

Percentage distribution of 4-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by application acceptance rate and control of institution: Academic year 201213

NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Excludes institutions not enrolling any first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2012, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 305.40.


In 201213, some 26 percent of 4-year institutions had open admission policies (accepted all applicants), 26 percent accepted three-quarters or more of their applicants, 34 percent accepted one-half to less than three-quarters of their applicants, and 14 percent accepted less than half of their applicants. Among 4-year institutions, a higher percentage of private for-profit institutions (57 percent) than public (18 percent) and private nonprofit institutions (14 percent) had open admission policies in 201213. Some 39 percent of private for-profit 4-year institutions accepted more than half of their applicants, whereas 66 percent of public 4-year institutions and 67 percent of private nonprofit 4-year institutions did so.


Figure 3. Percentage distribution of 2-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by application acceptance rate and control of institution: Academic year 201213

Percentage distribution of 2-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by application acceptance rate and control of institution: Academic year 201213

# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Excludes institutions not enrolling any first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2012, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 305.40.


In 201213, some 89 percent of 2-year institutions had open admissions, 7 percent accepted three-quarters or more of their applicants, 3 percent accepted one-half to less than three-quarters of applicants, and 2 percent accepted less than half of their applicants. Almost all public 2-year institutions had open admissions (98 percent), while 82 percent of private for-profit 2-year and 52 percent of private nonprofit 2-year institutions had open admissions.


Figure 4. Percentage of 4-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by admission requirements and control of institution: Academic year 201213

Percentage of 4-year degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, by admission requirements and control of institution: Academic year 201213

1 Test of English as a Foreign Language.
2 Includes SAT, ACT, or other admission tests.
3 Formal demonstration of competencies (e.g., portfolios, certificates of mastery, assessment instruments).
NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Excludes institutions not enrolling any first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2012, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 305.30.


In 201213, some 73 percent of 4-year and 10 percent of 2-year institutions had admission criteria for their applicants. Admission criteria are requirements for all applicants to an institution to submit specific information, such as secondary school administrative records, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, secondary school grades, admission tests (such as the SAT or ACT), recommendations, and college preparatory programs (i.e., International Baccalaureate). Among 4-year institutions, 74 percent of public institutions had a requirement for admission tests such as the SAT or ACT, compared with 63 percent of private nonprofit and 1 percent of private for-profit institutions. The percentage of 4-year private nonprofit institutions (53 percent) that required recommendations for admission was higher than the percentages for public (10 percent) and private for-profit 4-year institutions (2 percent). The percentages of 4-year public and private nonprofit institutions requiring TOEFL scores (71 and 69 percent, respectively) were higher than the percentage for 4-year private for-profit institutions (34 percent). Among 2-year institutions, 29 percent of private nonprofit and 14 percent of private for-profit institutions had a requirement for secondary school records, compared with 2 percent of public institutions. A small percentage of 4-year (1 percent) and 2-year institutions (1 percent) had no admission requirements, only suggested admission criteria.


Glossary terms: Degree-granting institutions, For-profit institution, Nonprofit institution
Data Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education