Projections of Education Statistics to 2020

NCES 2011-026
September 2011

Section 6. Postsecondary Degrees Conferred: Introduction

Continuing growth in enrollment in postsecondary degree-granting institutions has been reflected by an increase in the number of degrees conferred. Increases in the number of degrees conferred are expected to continue between academic year 200809, the last year of actual data, and academic year 202021.

Factors affecting the projections

The projections of the number of degrees conferred are related to projections of the college-age populations deve-loped by the Census Bureau and college enrollments from this report. For more details, see appendixes A.0 and A.6.

Factors that were not considered

Some factors that may affect future numbers of degrees, such as choice of degree and labor force requirements, were not included in the projection models.

About first-professional degrees

A first-professional degree is one that signifies both completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that required for a bachelor's degree. A first-professional degree is based on a program requiring at least 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Degree fields include dentistry, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, law, and theological professions.

Accuracy of Projections

No MAPEs were calculated for degrees conferred as the current model used for producing their projections has been used for only two other editions of Projections of Education Statistics. For more information on the MAPEs of different National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projection series, see table A-2 in appendix A.