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Spotlights

Young Adult Educational and Employment Outcomes by Family Socioeconomic Status
Among 2009 ninth-graders, there was no measurable difference between high- and low-socioeconomic status (SES) students in the percentage who were employed in 2016 (62 vs. 64 percent), but the percentage who were enrolled in postsecondary education 7 years after being in ninth grade was 50 percentage points larger for high-SES students (78 percent) than for their low-SES peers (28 percent).

Postsecondary Outcomes for Nontraditional Undergraduate Students
Among students who started at public 2-year institutions in 2009, completion rates 8 years after entry were higher among full-time students (30 percent for first-time students and 38 percent for non-first-time students) than among part-time students (16 percent for first-time students and 21 percent for non-first-time students). Also at public 2-year institutions, transfer rates 8 years after entry were higher among non-first-time students (37 percent for part-time students and 30 percent for full-time students) than among first-time students (24 percent for both full-time and part-time students).

Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Family Characteristics

Characteristics of Children's Families
In 2017, some 10 percent of children under the age of 18 lived in households without a parent who had completed high school, 26 percent lived in mother-only households, 8 percent lived in father-only households, and 18 percent were in families living in poverty.

Children's Access to and Use of the Internet
The percentage of children ages 3 to 18 who had no internet access at home was lower in 2017 (14 percent) than in 2010 (21 percent). Among those who did not have home internet access in 2017, the two most commonly cited main reasons were that the family did not need it or was not interested in having it (43 percent) and that it was too expensive (34 percent).

Preprimary Education

Preschool and Kindergarten Enrollment
In 2017, the percentage of 3- to 5-year-olds enrolled in preschool programs was higher for children whose parents’ highest level of education was a graduate or professional degree (46 percent) or a bachelor’s degree (47 percent) than for children whose parents’ highest level of education was an associate’s degree (36 percent), some college but no degree (34 percent), a high school credential (33 percent), or less than a high school credential (26 percent).

Elementary and Secondary Enrollment

Public School Enrollment
Between fall 2016 and fall 2028, total public school enrollment in prekindergarten through grade 12 is projected to increase by 2 percent (from 50.6 million to 51.4 million students), with changes across states ranging from an increase of 23 percent in the District of Columbia to a decrease of 12 percent in Connecticut.

Public Charter School Enrollment
Between fall 2000 and fall 2016, overall public charter school enrollment increased from 0.4 million to 3.0 million. During this period, the percentage of public school students who attended charter schools increased from 1 to 6 percent.

Private School Enrollment
In fall 2015, some 5.8 million students (10.2 percent of all elementary and secondary students) were enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools. Thirty-six percent of private school students were enrolled in Catholic schools, 39 percent were enrolled in other religiously affiliated schools, and 24 percent were enrolled in nonsectarian schools.

English Language Learners in Public Schools
The percentage of public school students in the United States who were English language learners (ELLs) was higher in fall 2016 (9.6 percent, or 4.9 million students) than in fall 2000 (8.1 percent, or 3.8 million students). In fall 2016, the percentage of public school students who were ELLs ranged from 0.9 percent in West Virginia to 20.2 percent in California.

Children and Youth With Disabilities
In 2017–18, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.0 million, or 14 percent of all public school students. Among students receiving special education services, 34 percent had specific learning disabilities.

Schools

Characteristics of Traditional Public Schools and Public Charter Schools
In school year 2016–17, about 56 percent of public charter schools were located in cities, compared with 25 percent of traditional public schools. Higher percentages of public charter schools than of traditional public schools had more than 50 percent Black enrollment (23 vs. 9 percent) and more than 50 percent Hispanic enrollment (26 vs. 16 percent). A lower percentage of public charter schools than of traditional public schools had more than 50 percent White enrollment (33 vs. 57 percent).

Concentration of Public School Students Eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch
In fall 2016, the percentage of students who attended high-poverty schools was highest for Hispanic students (45 percent), followed by Black students (44 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native students (38 percent), Pacific Islander students (24 percent), students of Two or more races (17 percent), Asian students (14 percent), and White students (8 percent).

School Crime and Safety
Between 2001 and 2017, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months decreased overall (from 6 to 2 percent), as did the percentages of students who reported theft (from 4 to 1 percent) and violent victimization (from 2 to 1 percent).

Teachers and Staff

Characteristics of Public School Teachers
The percentage of public school teachers who held a postbaccalaureate degree (i.e., a master’s, education specialist, or doctor’s degree) was higher in 2015–16 (57 percent) than in 1999–2000 (47 percent). In both school years, a lower percentage of elementary school teachers than secondary school teachers held a postbaccalaureate degree.

Characteristics of Public School Principals
The percentage of public school principals who were female in 2015–16 (54 percent) was 10 percentage points higher than in 1999–2000. The percentage of public school principals who were White was 4 percentage points lower in 2015–16 than in 1999–2000 (78 vs. 82 percent). In contrast, the percentage who were Hispanic was 3 percentage points higher in 2015–16 than in 1999–2000 (8 vs. 5 percent).

Assessments

Reading Performance
The average 4th-grade reading score in 2017 (222) was higher than the average score in 1992 (217), but not measurably different from the average score in 2015, when the assessment was last administered. At the 8th-grade level, the average reading score in 2017 (267) was higher than the scores in both 1992 (260) and 2015 (265).

Mathematics Performance
The average 4th-grade mathematics score in 2017 (240) was higher than the average score in 1990 (213), but not measurably different from the average score in 2015, when the assessment was last administered. Similarly, the average 8th-grade mathematics score was higher in 2017 (283) than in 1990 (263), but not measurably different from the average score in 2015.

Science Performance
The percentage of 4th-grade students scoring at or above the Proficient level was higher in 2015 (38 percent) than in 2009 (34 percent), according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In addition, the percentage of 8th-grade students scoring at or above the Proficient level was higher in 2015 (34 percent) than in 2009 (30 percent). The percentage of 12th-grade students scoring at or above the Proficient level in 2015 (22 percent) was not measurably different from the percentage in 2009.

High School Completion

Public High School Graduation Rates
In school year 2016–17, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students was 85 percent, the highest it has been since the rate was first measured in 2010–11. Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest ACGR (91 percent), followed by White (89 percent), Hispanic (80 percent), Black (78 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (72 percent) students.

Status Dropout Rates
The overall status dropout rate decreased from 9.7 percent in 2006 to 5.4 percent in 2017. During this time, the Hispanic status dropout rate decreased from 21.0 percent to 8.2 percent and the Black status dropout rate decreased from 11.5 percent to 6.5 percent, while the White status dropout rate decreased from 6.4 percent to 4.3 percent. Nevertheless, in 2017 the Hispanic (8.2 percent) and Black (6.5 percent) status dropout rates remained higher than the White (4.3 percent) status dropout rate.

Finances

Public School Revenue Sources
From school year 2014–15 to 2015–16, total revenues for public elementary and secondary schools increased by $27 billion in constant 2017–18 dollars (4 percent). During this period, state revenues increased by 5 percent, local revenues increased by 4 percent, and federal revenues increased by 1 percent.

Public School Expenditures
In 2015–16, public schools spent $12,330 per student on current expenditures (in constant 2017–18 dollars), a category that includes salaries, employee benefits, purchased services, and supplies. Current expenditures per student were 18 percent higher in 2015–16 than in 2000–01, after adjusting for inflation. During this period, current expenditures per student increased from $10,458 in 2000–01 to $12,183 in 2008–09, decreased between 2008–09 and 2012–13 to $11,552, and then reached $12,330 in 2015–16.

Postsecondary Education

Postsecondary Students

Immediate College Enrollment Rate
In 2017, the immediate college enrollment rate for male high school completers (61 percent) was lower than the rate for female high school completers (72 percent).

College Enrollment Rates
The overall college enrollment rate for young adults increased from 35 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2017. In 2017, the college enrollment rate was higher for Asian (65 percent) young adults than for White (41 percent), Black (36 percent), and Hispanic (36 percent) young adults.

Undergraduate Enrollment
Between 2000 and 2017, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 27 percent (from 13.2 million to 16.8 million students). By 2028, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase to 17.2 million students.

Postbaccalaureate Enrollment
Between 2000 and 2017, total postbaccalaureate enrollment increased by 39 percent (from 2.2 million to 3.0 million students). By 2028, postbaccalaureate enrollment is projected to increase to 3.1 million students.

Characteristics of Postsecondary Students
In fall 2017, some 75 percent of the 10.8 million undergraduate students at 4-year institutions were enrolled full time, compared with 37 percent of the 5.9 million undergraduate students at 2-year institutions.

Postsecondary Institutions

Characteristics of Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions
In academic year 2017–18, some 27 percent of 4-year institutions had open admissions policies (i.e., accepted all applicants), 29 percent accepted three-quarters or more of their applicants, 30 percent accepted from one-half to less than three-quarters of their applicants, and 14 percent accepted less than one-half of their applicants.

Characteristics of Postsecondary Faculty
From fall 1999 to fall 2017, the number of faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 49 percent (from 1.0 to 1.5 million). While the number of full-time faculty increased by 38 percent over this period, the number of part-time faculty increased by 72 percent between 1999 and 2011 and then decreased by 5 percent between 2011 and 2017.

Programs, Courses, and Completions

Undergraduate Degree Fields
In 2016–17, over two-thirds of the 1.0 million associate’s degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions were concentrated in three fields of study: liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities (387,000 degrees); health professions and related programs (186,000 degrees); and business (122,000 degrees). Of the 2.0 million bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2016–17, more than half were concentrated in five fields of study: business (381,000 degrees); health professions and related programs (238,000 degrees); social sciences and history (159,000 degrees); psychology (117,000 degrees); and biological and biomedical sciences (117,000 degrees).

Graduate Degree Fields
In 2016–17, over half of the 805,000 master’s degrees conferred were concentrated in three fields of study: business (187,000 degrees), education (146,000 degrees), and health professions and related programs (119,000 degrees). Of the 181,000 doctor’s degrees conferred, 62 percent were concentrated in two fields: health professions and related programs (77,700 degrees) and legal professions and studies (35,100 degrees).

Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates
About 60 percent of students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2011 completed that degree at the same institution within 6 years; the 6-year graduation rate was higher for females than for males (63 vs. 57 percent).

Postsecondary Certificates and Degrees Conferred
The number of postsecondary certificates and degrees conferred at each award level increased between 2000–01 and 2016–17. The number of certificates below the associate’s level conferred during this period increased by 71 percent. The number of degrees conferred during this period increased by 74 percent at the associate’s level, by 57 percent at the bachelor’s level, by 70 percent at the master’s level, and by 52 percent at the doctor’s level.

Finances and Resources

Price of Attending an Undergraduate Institution
In academic year 2016–17, the average net price of attendance (total cost minus grant and scholarship aid) for first-time, full-time undergraduate students attending 4-year institutions was $13,800 at public institutions, compared with $26,800 at private nonprofit institutions and $22,000 at private for-profit institutions (in constant 2017–18 dollars).

Loans for Undergraduate Students
In 2016–17, some 46 percent of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students were awarded loan aid, a 4 percentage point decrease from 2010–11 (50 percent). Between 2010–11 and 2016–17, the average annual undergraduate student loan amount decreased 3 percent, from $7,400 to $7,200 (in constant 2017–18 dollars).

Sources of Financial Aid
The percentage of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students at 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions who were awarded financial aid was higher in academic year 2016–17 (85 percent) than in 2000–01 (75 percent).

Postsecondary Institution Revenues
Revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student were 25 percent higher in 2016–17 than in 2010–11 at public institutions ($7,700 vs. $6,100 in constant 2017–18 dollars) and 7 percent higher at private nonprofit institutions ($21,900 vs. $20,500). At private for-profit institutions, revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student were 4 percent lower in 2016–17 than in 2010–11 ($16,500 vs. $17,100).

Postsecondary Institution Expenses
In 2016–17, instruction expenses per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student (in constant 2017–18 dollars) was the largest expense category at public institutions ($10,800) and private nonprofit institutions ($18,400). At private for-profit institutions, the combined category of student services, academic support, and institutional support expenses was the largest category of expenses per FTE student ($10,500).

Population Characteristics and Economic Outcomes

Population Characteristics

Educational Attainment of Young Adults
Educational attainment rates for 25- to 29-year-olds increased at all levels between 2000 and 2018. During this time, the percentage with high school completion or higher increased from 88 to 93 percent, the percentage with an associate’s or higher degree increased from 38 to 47 percent, the percentage with a bachelor’s or higher degree increased from 29 to 37 percent, and the percentage with a master’s or higher degree increased from 5 to 9 percent.

Young Adults Neither Enrolled in School nor Working
Overall, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds neither enrolled in school nor working was lower in 2017 (14 percent) than shortly before the recession in 2006 (15 percent) and shortly after the recession in 2011 (18 percent). In 2017, the percentage of 20- to 24-year-olds neither enrolled in school nor working was higher for those who had not completed high school (42 percent) than for those who had completed high school (13 percent).

Economic Outcomes

Annual Earnings of Young Adults
For young adults ages 25–34 who worked full time, year round, higher educational attainment was associated with higher median earnings. This pattern was consistent from 2000 through 2017. For example, in 2017 the median earnings of young adults with a master’s or higher degree ($65,000) were 26 percent higher than those of young adults with a bachelor’s degree ($51,800), and the median earnings of young adults with a bachelor’s degree were 62 percent higher than those of young adult high school completers ($32,000).

Employment and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment
In 2018, the employment rate was higher for young adults with higher levels of educational attainment than for those with lower levels of educational attainment. For example, the employment rate was 86 percent for young adults with a bachelor’s or higher degree and 59 percent for those who had not completed high school.

International Comparisons

Assessments

International Comparisons: Reading Literacy at Grade 4
In 2016, the United States, along with 15 other education systems, participated in the new ePIRLS assessment of students’ comprehension of online information. The average online informational reading score for fourth-grade students in the United States (557) was higher than the ePIRLS scale centerpoint (500). Only three education systems (Singapore, Norway, and Ireland) scored higher than the United States.

International Comparisons: U.S. 4th-, 8th-, and 12th-Graders' Mathematics and Science Achievement
According to the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the United States was among the top 15 education systems in science (out of 54) at grade 4 and among the top 17 education systems in science (out of 43) at grade 8. In mathematics, the United States was among the top 20 education systems at grade 4 and top 19 education systems at grade 8.

International Comparisons: Science, Reading, and Mathematics Literacy of 15-Year-Old Students
In 2015, there were 18 education systems with higher average science literacy scores for 15-year-olds than the United States, 14 with higher reading literacy scores, and 36 with higher mathematics literacy scores.

Enrollment and Attainment

Enrollment Rates by Country
In contrast to the near universal enrollment of 5- to 14-year-olds in all OECD countries, enrollment rates among 15- to 19-year-olds varied across OECD countries in 2016, ranging from 59 percent in Mexico to 94 percent in Lithuania. Some 83 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in school at any level, which was slightly lower than the OECD average of 85 percent.

International Educational Attainment
Across OECD countries, the average percentage of the adult population with any postsecondary degree was 37 percent in 2017, an increase of 15 percentage points from 2000. During the same period, the percentage of U.S. adults with any postsecondary degree increased 10 percentage points to 46 percent.

Finances

Education Expenditures by Country
In 2015, the United States spent $12,800 per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student on elementary and secondary education, which was 35 percent higher than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of $9,500. At the postsecondary level, the United States spent $31,000 per FTE student, which was 93 percent higher than the average of OECD countries ($16,100).