Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Projections of Education Statistics to 2020

NCES 2011-026
September 2011

Introduction to Projection Methodology: Postsecondary Degrees Conferred

Projections in this edition

This edition of Projections of Education Statistics presents projections of postsecondary degrees conferred by level of degree and sex of recipient for 200910 through 202021.

Overview of approach

Basic approach

Projections of associate's, bachelor's, master's, and first-professional degrees for men and women were produced using forecasting equations that relate degrees conferred to full-time enrollment in degree-granting institutions by sex, student level (undergraduate or postbaccalaureate), and institution level (2-year or 4-year). Projections of doctor's degrees for men and women were produced using double exponential smoothing.

Degrees Conferred Model

Procedures used to project degrees

For all degree levels, projections of degrees conferred were made separately for men and for women. The projections for men and women were then summed to get projections of the total number of degrees.

Double exponential smoothing was used to project doctor's degrees, as described below. Multiple linear regression was used to project associate's, bachelor's, master's, and first-professional degrees based on enrollment variables for men and women. The enrollment variables used for the different levels of degrees are briefly described below.

For details and results of the regression analyses used to project associate's, bachelor's, master's, and first-professional degrees, see table A-30, under "Data and equations used to project degrees," later in this section.

Associate's degrees. Projections were based on full-time undergraduate enrollment in 2-year institutions by sex. Men's projections of associate's degrees were based on current full-time enrollment and full-time enrollment lagged 2 years. Women's projections of associate's degrees were based on current full-time enrollment and full-time enrollment lagged 1 and 2 years.

Bachelor's degrees. Projections were based on full-time undergraduate enrollment in 4-year institutions by sex. For men and for women, bachelor's degree projections were based on current full-time enrollment and full-time enrollment lagged 2 years.

Master's degrees. Projections were based on full-time postbaccalaureate enrollment by sex. Men's projections of master's degrees were based on current full-time enrollment and full-time enrollment lagged 1 year. Women's projections of master's degrees were based on current full-time enrollment.

Doctor's degrees. Projections were obtained by double exponential smoothing of the historical data on doctor's degrees awarded by sex. The smoothing constants for each sex were chosen to minimize the sum of squared forecast errors.

First-professional degrees. Projections were based on full-time postbaccalaureate enrollment by sex. For men and for women, first-professional degree projections were based on current full-time postbaccalaureate enrollment and full-time postbaccalaureate enrollment lagged 1 and 2 years.

Data and equations used to project degrees

Enrollment data and projections for degree-granting institutions. Historical enrollment data by sex, level of student, and level of institution came from the NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). For the time period used for each level of degree, see table A-30 on page 137. The enrollment projections used are those produced for this edition of Projections of Education Statistics. For more information about the enrollment projections, see Section A.5. Enrollment in Postsecondary Degree-Granting Institutions, earlier in this appendix.

Data on degrees awarded at all levels. Historical data by level of degree and sex of recipient came from the NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Doctor's degrees were projected using data for 196061 to 200708. For the time periods used for the other degree levels, see table A-30 on page 137.

Estimated equations and model statistics. For details on the equations used to project associate's, bachelor's, master's, and first-professional degrees, see table A-30 on page 137. The equations shown were selected on the basis of their statistical properties, such as coefficients of determination (R2s), the t-statistics of the coefficients, the Durbin-Watson statistic, the Breusch-Godfrey Serial Correlation LM test statistic, and residual plots.

Accuracy of projections

No MAPEs were calculated for degrees conferred as the current models used for producing these projections have been used for only two other editions of Projections of Education Statistics.

For more information about MAPEs, see Section A.0. Introduction, earlier in this appendix.

For more information, see Table A-30.

Top


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.