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Back to school statistics

What are the new Back to School statistics for 2015?


Elementary and Secondary Education


In fall 2015, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.2 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8 and 14.9 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 4.9 million students are expected to attend private schools (source). The fall 2015 public school enrollment is expected to be slightly higher than the 50.0 million enrolled in fall 2014.

Of the projected 50.1 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2015, White students will account for 24.7 million. The remaining 25.4 million will be composed of 7.7 million Black students, 13.1 million Hispanic students, 2.6 million Asian/Pacific Islander students, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.5 million students of Two or more races (source). The national percentage of students who are White is projected to remain at less than 50 percent in 2015. The percentage of students who are White is expected to continue declining as the enrollments of Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and students of Two or more races increase through at least fall 2024, the last year for which projections are available (source).

In fall 2015, about 1.3 million children are expected to attend public prekindergarten; enrollment in public kindergarten is projected to reach approximately 3.7 million students (source).

About 4.1 million public school students are expected to enroll in 9th grade in fall 2015. Students typically enter American high schools in 9th grade (source).


Public school systems will employ about 3.1 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers in fall 2015, such that the number of pupils per FTE teacher—that is, the pupil/teacher ratio—will be 16.0. This ratio is the same as the 2000 ratio. A projected 0.4 million FTE teachers will be working in private schools this fall, resulting in an estimated pupil/teacher ratio of 12.5, which is lower than the 2000 ratio of 14.5 (source).

Schools and Districts

In 2012–13, there were about 13,500 public school districts (source) with nearly 98,500 public schools, including about 6,100 charter schools (source). In fall 2011, there were about 30,900 private schools offering kindergarten or higher grades (source).


Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools are projected to be $634 billion for the 2015–16 school year. These expenditures include such items as salaries for school personnel, benefits, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs. The current expenditure per student is projected at $12,605 for the 2015–16 school year (source).


About 3.3 million students are expected to graduate from high school in 2015–16, including 3.0 million students from public high schools and about 0.3 million students from private high schools (source).

The percentage of high school dropouts among 16- through 24-year-olds declined from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 6.8 percent in 2013 (source). Reflecting the overall decline in the dropout rate between 2000 and 2013, the rates also declined for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics (source) .

The percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall immediately following high school completion was 65.9 percent in 2013 (source).

College and University Education


In fall 2015, some 20.2 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities, constituting an increase of about 4.9 million since fall 2000 (source).

Females are expected to account for the majority of college students: about 11.5 million females will attend in fall 2015, compared with 8.7 million males. Also, more students are expected to attend full time than part time (an estimated 12.6 million, compared with about 7.6 million) (source).

About 7.0 million students will attend 2-year institutions and 13.2 million will attend 4-year institutions in fall 2015. Some 17.3 million students are expected to enroll in undergraduate programs and about 3.0 million will enroll in postbaccalaureate programs (source).

Increases in the traditional college-age population and rising enrollment rates have contributed to the increase in college enrollment. Between 2000 and 2013, the 18- to 24-year-old population rose from approximately 27.3 million to approximately 31.5 million (source). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college also was higher in 2013 (39.9 percent) than in 2000 (35.5 percent) (source).

In 2013, there were about 12.2 million college students under age 25 and 8.2 million students 25 years old and over. The numbers of younger and older students increased between 2000 and 2013 (source).

Increasing numbers and percentages of Black and Hispanic students are attending college. Between 2000 and 2013, the percentage of college students who were Black rose from 11.7 to 14.7 percent, and the percentage of students who were Hispanic rose from 9.9 to 15.8 percent (source). Also, the percentage of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college increased from 21.7 percent in 2000 to 33.8 percent in 2013; the percentage of Black 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled did not change measurably during this period (source).


For the 2013–14 academic year, the average annual price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $15,640 at public institutions, $40,614 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,135 at private for-profit institutions. Charges for tuition and required fees averaged $6,122 at public institutions, $29,648 at private nonprofit institutions, and $13,787 at private for-profit institutions (source).


During the 2015–16 school year, colleges and universities are expected to award 952,000 associate's degrees; 1.8 million bachelor's degrees; 802,000 master's degrees; and 179,000 doctor's degrees (source). In 2012–13, postsecondary institutions awarded 966,000 certificates below the associate's degree level, 1.0 million associate's degrees, 1.8 million bachelor's degrees, 752,000 master's degrees, and 175,000 doctor's degrees (source).

In 2013, about 72.1 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor's or higher degree in the labor force had year-round, full-time jobs, compared with 67.5 percent of those with an associate's degree, 59.0 percent of those with some college education, 61.7 percent of high school completers, and 53.3 percent of those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (source). In 2014, a smaller percentage of 20- to 24-year-olds with a bachelor's degree or higher were unemployed than were their peers with lower levels of education (source).

In 2013, median earnings for full-time year-round working young adults ages 25–34 with a bachelor's degree were $48,500, while the median was $23,900 for those without a high school diploma or its equivalent, $30,000 for those with a high school diploma or its equivalent, and $37,500 for those with an associate's degree. In other words, young adults with a bachelor's degree earned more than twice as much as those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (103 percent more) and 62 percent more than young adult high school completers. Additionally, in 2013 median earnings for young adults with a master's or higher degree were $59,600, some 23 percent more than the median for young adults with a bachelor's degree (source).

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