Projections of Education Statistics to 2021

NCES 2013-008
January 2013

Section 6. Postsecondary Degrees Conferred: Introduction

Continuing growth in enrollment in postsecondary degree-granting institutions has been reflected by increases in the numbers of associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees conferred (tables 20, 32, 33, 34, and 35). Increases in the number of degrees conferred are expected to continue between academic year 2009-10, the last year of actual data, and academic year 2021-22.

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.

Changes in degree classifications

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) no longer uses the first-professional degree classification. Most degrees formerly classified as first-professional—such as M.D., D.D.S., and law degrees—are now classified as doctor's degrees. However, master's of divinity degrees are now classified as master's degrees. With this change, the actual numbers of master's and doctor's and degrees conferred are higher than the actual numbers in Projections of Education Statistics to 2020 and earlier editions of this report. The change in the actual numbers affected the projections.

Accuracy of Projections

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