It’s back to school time—what do we know about our nation’s students and schools?
Across the country, students are preparing to head back to school either in person, online, or some combination of the two, for the 2020–21 academic year. Each year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles back-to-school facts and figures that give a snapshot of our schools and colleges for the coming year. Scroll through below to learn more.
Please note that these projections do not account for changes in enrollment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The following resources provide information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education:
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
How many students will attend school in fall 2020?
About 56.4 million students are projected to attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States (source).
Of the 50.7 million public school students (source):
About 3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school during the 2020–21 school year, including 3.3 million students from public schools and 0.4 million from private schools (source).
How does fall 2020 public school enrollment compare with years past?
Fall 2020 public school enrollment is expected to be slightly higher than the 50.6 million students estimated to have been enrolled in fall 2019, but lower than in fall 2017, when public school enrollment was the highest ever reported (source). Total public elementary and secondary enrollment is projected to increase between fall 2020 and fall 2029 to 51.1 million.
What are the demographics of public school students?
The projected 50.7 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2020 are expected to include (source):
Enrollment in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: 1995–2029
Percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: 1995–2029
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary and Secondary Education,” 1995–96 through 2017–18; and National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity Projection Model, 1972 through 2029.
Since fall 2014, less than half of public school students have been White. The percentage of public school students who are White, along with the percentage of students who are American Indian/Alaska Native, is projected to continue to decline from fall 2017 (the last year of actual data available at the time of analysis) through at least fall 2029. The percentages of students who are Asian and of Two or more races are projected to increase. The percentages of Black, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander students are expected to be about the same in 2029 as they were in 2017.
To learn more about student demographics, explore NCES’s variety of Fast Facts, which focus on topics including:
How many schools provided distance learning opportunities in previous years?
In 2017–18, about 19 percent of all elementary/secondary schools offered any courses entirely online (source). This percentage varied by school characteristics:
Visit our Fast Fact on distance learning in elementary and secondary schools to learn more about previous years’ distance learning in the United States.
How many teachers are there in the United States?
There are expected to be about 3.7 million teachers in fall 2020 (source).
Visit our Fast Fact on teacher trends to learn more about the teaching profession in the United States.
How much will be spent on PK–12 education this school year?
(Note: These these estimates do not include funding changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.)
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
How many students will attend colleges and universities in fall 2020?
About 19.7 million students are projected to attend colleges and universities in fall 2020 (source).
Are college enrollments expected to differ by student characteristics in fall 2020?
How will fall 2020 college and university enrollment compare with years past?
How many postsecondary students participated in distance learning in previous years?
In fall 2018, some 6.9 million students were enrolled in any distance education course, compared with 12.7 million students who were not enrolled in distance education (source).
Of the students who were enrolled in any distance education course, 3.7 million students were enrolled in distance education for at least one but not all of their courses, and 3.3 million were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses.
Visit our Fast Fact on distance learning among postsecondary students to learn more about the distance learning in the United States.
During the 2020–21 academic year, how many degrees are colleges and universities expected to award?
For more information:
NCES publishes a wide range of data on graduation rates, technology in education, college costs, fields of study (or majors), number of degrees awarded, and employment outcomes in annual publications, including the Condition of Education and the Digest of Education Statistics.
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)