This edition of Projections of Education Statistics provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary public and private schools, as well as enrollment and degrees conferred at degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for at least the past 15 years and projections to the year 2028. Also included are state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high schools beginning in 1990, with projections to 2028. This report is organized by the level of schooling with sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 covering aspects of elementary and secondary education and sections 5 and 6 covering aspects of postsecondary education.
There are a number of limitations in projecting some statistics. Because of this, state-level data on enrollment and graduates in private elementary and secondary schools and on enrollment and degrees conferred in degree-granting postsecondary institutions are not included. Neither the actual numbers nor the projections of public and private elementary and secondary school enrollment include homeschooled students. Projections of elementary and secondary school enrollment and public high school graduates by age, state, and race/ethnicity are not included as the projections of the population by age, state, and race/ethnicity are not presently available. While there were enough years of data to produce projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment separately for Asians and Pacific Islanders, there were not enough years of data to produce separate projections for Asians and Pacific Islanders for either public high school graduates or enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions.
Similar methodologies were used to obtain a uniform set of projections for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These projections are further adjusted to agree with the national projections of public elementary and secondary school enrollment and public high school graduates contained in this report.
The summary of projections provides highlights of the national and state data, while the reference tables and figures present more detail. All calculations within Projections of Education Statistics are based on unrounded estimates. Therefore, the reader may find that a calculation, such as a difference or percentage change, cited in the text or figure may not be identical to the calculation obtained by using the rounded values shown in the accompanying tables. Most figures in this report present historical and forecasted data from 2003 through 2028. The shaded area of these figures highlights the projected data and begins at the last year of actual data and ends in 2028. As the last year of historical data differs by survey, the year in which the shaded area begins also differs.
Most statements in sections 1 through 6 examine a single statistic over a period of time. In each case, a trend test using linear regression was conducted to test for structure in the data over that time period. If the p value for the trend variable was less than or equal to .05, the text states that the statistic has either increased or decreased. If the p value was greater than .05 and the data for both the first and last years of the time period come from a universe sample and/or are projections, then the text compares the first and last years in the time period. However, if the data for at least one of the two years came from a sample survey, a two-tailed t test at the .05 level was conducted to determine if any apparent difference between the data for the two years is not reliably measurable due to the uncertainty around the data. Depending on the results of the test, the text will either include a comparison of the two numbers or say that there was no measurable difference between the two numbers.
Appendix A describes the methodology and assumptions used to develop the projections; appendix B presents supplementary tables; appendix C describes data sources; appendix D is a list of the references; appendix E presents a list of abbreviations; and appendix F is a glossary of terms.
Limitations of Projections
Projections of a time series usually differ from the final reported data due to errors from many sources, such as the properties of the projection methodologies, which depend on the validity of many assumptions.
The mean absolute percentage error is one way to express the forecast accuracy of past projections. This measure expresses the average of the absolute values of errors in percentage terms, where errors are the differences between past projections and actual data. For example, based on past editions of Projections of Education Statistics, the mean absolute percentage errors of public school enrollment in grades prekindergarten through 12 for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years were 0.3, 0.5, 1.2, and 2.6 percent, respectively. In contrast, mean absolute percentage errors of private school enrollment in grades prekindergarten through 8 for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years were 3.1, 5.8, 8.3, and 21.5 percent, respectively. For more information on mean absolute percentage errors, see table A-2 in appendix A.