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Spotlights

Early Childhood Care Arrangements: Choices and Costs
Child care costs have changed over time for children under the age of 6 who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. In 2016, the average hourly out-of-pocket expense for families of children in center-based care was 72 percent higher than in 2001 ($7.60 vs. $4.42, in constant 2016–17 dollars), the expense for families of children in nonrelative care was 48 percent higher than in 2001 ($6.54 vs. $4.42), and the expense for families of children in relative care was 79 percent higher than in 2001 ($4.99 vs. $2.78).

Characteristics of Public School Teachers Who Completed Alternative Route to Certification Programs
Approximately 18 percent of public school teachers in 2015–16 had entered teaching through an alternative route to certification program. Compared to those who entered through a traditional route, a higher percentage of alternative route teachers were Black (13 vs. 5 percent), Hispanic (15 vs. 8 percent), of Two or more races (2 vs. 1 percent), and male (32 vs. 22 percent).

Trends in Student Loan Debt for Graduate School Completers
Average loan balances for students who completed a research or professional doctorate increased between 1999–2000 and 2015–16 for all degree programs for which data were available (in constant 2016–17 dollars). Average loan balances approximately doubled for those who completed medical doctorates (from $124,700 to $246,000, an increase of 97 percent), Ph.D.'s outside the field of education (from $48,400 to $98,800, an increase of 104 percent), and other non-Ph.D. doctorates (from $64,500 to $132,200, an increase of 105 percent).

Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Family Characteristics

Characteristics of Children's Families
In 2016, some 10 percent of children under the age of 18 lived in households without a parent who had completed high school, 27 percent lived in mother-only households, 8 percent lived in father-only households, and 19 percent lived in poverty.

Children's Access to and Use of the Internet
In 2015, about 71 percent of children ages 3 to 18 used the Internet. Among these children, 86 percent used the Internet at home; 65 percent used it at school; 31 percent used it at someone else's home; 27 percent used it at a library, community center, or other public place; and 14 percent used it at a coffee shop or other business offering internet access. In addition, 27 percent of these children used the Internet while traveling between places.

Preprimary Education

Preschool and Kindergarten Enrollment
In 2016, the percentage of 3- to 5-year-olds enrolled in preschool programs was higher for those children whose parents had a graduate or professional degree (54 percent) than for those whose parents had a bachelor's degree (41 percent), an associate's degree (35 percent), some college but no degree (37 percent), a high school credential (33 percent), and less than a high school credential (30 percent).

Elementary and Secondary Enrollment

Elementary and Secondary Enrollment
Between fall 2015 and fall 2027, total public school enrollment in prekindergarten through grade 12 is projected to increase by 3 percent (from 50.4 million to 52.1 million students), with changes across states ranging from an increase of 28 percent in the District of Columbia to a decrease of 12 percent in Connecticut. 

Public Charter School Enrollment
Between fall 2000 and fall 2015, overall public charter school enrollment increased from 0.4 million to 2.8 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 2015 (9.5 percent, or 4.8 million students) than in fall 2000 (8.1 percent, or 3.8 million students). In fall 2015, the percentage of public school students who were ELLs ranged from 1.0 percent in West Virginia to 21.0 percent in California.

Children and Youth With Disabilities
In 2015–16, the number of students ages 3–21 receiving special education services was 6.7 million, or 13 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 2015–16, some 57 percent of public charter schools were located in cities, compared to 25 percent of traditional public schools. A higher percentage 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 (25 vs. 16 percent). A lower percentage of public charter schools than of traditional public schools had more than 50 percent White enrollment (34 vs. 58 percent).

Concentration of Public School Students Eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch
Higher percentages of Hispanic (45 percent), Black (45 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (37 percent), and Pacific Islander (25 percent) students attended high-poverty schools than of White students (8 percent) in school year 2015–16. The percentages of students of Two or more races (18 percent) and Asian students (15 percent) in high-poverty schools were higher than the percentage for White students but lower than the national average (24 percent).

School Crime and Safety
Between 2000 and 2016, the rates of nonfatal victimization both at school and away from school declined for students ages 12–18. The rate of victimization at school declined 65 percent, and the rate of victimization away from school declined 72 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.

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 2015–16, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students was 84 percent, the highest it has been since the rate was first measured in 2010–11. In other words, more than four out of five students graduated with a regular high school diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest ACGR (91 percent), followed by White (88 percent), Hispanic (79 percent), Black (76 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (72 percent) students.

Status Dropout Rates
The overall status dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016. During this time, the Hispanic status dropout rate decreased by 19.2 percentage points, while the Black and White status dropout rates decreased by 6.9 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively. Nevertheless, in 2016 the Hispanic status dropout rate (8.6 percent) remained higher than the Black (6.2 percent) and White (5.2 percent) status dropout rates.

Finances

Public School Revenue Sources
In school year 2014–15, elementary and secondary public school revenues totaled $664 billion in constant 2016–17 dollars. Of this total, 8 percent of revenues were from federal sources, 47 percent were from state sources, and 45 percent were from local sources.

Public School Expenditures
In 2014–15, public schools spent $11,734 per student on current expenditures, a category that includes salaries, employee benefits, purchased services, and supplies. Current expenditures per student were 15 percent higher in 2014–15 than in 2000–01, after adjusting for inflation. During this period, current expenditures per student peaked in 2008–09 at $11,914, and fluctuated between 2008–09 and 2014–15.

Postsecondary Education

Postsecondary Students

Immediate College Enrollment Rate
The immediate college enrollment rate for high school completers increased from 63 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in 2016. The enrollment rate for those from high-income families (83 percent) was higher than the rate for those from low-income (67 percent) and middle-income families (64 percent) in 2016. The gap in enrollment rates between low- and high-income students narrowed from 30 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2016. The gap between low- and middle-income students was 12 percentage points in 2000, but there was no measurable gap between low- and middle-income students in 2016.

College Enrollment Rates
The overall college enrollment rate for young adults increased from 35 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2016. During this time period, the enrollment rate increased by 3 percentage points for White young adults, 6 percentage points for Black young adults, and 17 percentage points for Hispanic young adults. In 2016, the rate for White young adults (42 percent) was higher than the rate for Black young adults (36 percent), but not measurably different from the rate for Hispanic young adults (39 percent).

Undergraduate Enrollment
Between 2000 and 2016, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 28 percent (from 13.2 million to 16.9 million students). By 2027, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase to 17.4 million students.

Postbaccalaureate Enrollment
Between 2000 and 2016, total postbaccalaureate enrollment increased by 38 percent (from 2.2 million to 3.0 million students). By 2027, postbaccalaureate enrollment is projected to increase to 3.1 million students.

Characteristics of Postsecondary Students
In fall 2015, some 77 percent of the 10.5 million undergraduate students at 4-year institutions were enrolled full time, compared with 39 percent of the 6.5 million undergraduate students at 2-year institutions.

Postsecondary Institutions

Characteristics of Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions
In academic year 2016–17, some 27 percent of 4-year institutions had open admissions policies (accepted all applicants), an additional 27 percent accepted three-quarters or more of their applicants, 32 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 2016, the number of faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 51 percent (from 1.0 to 1.5 million). The number of full-time faculty increased by 38 percent over this period, while the number of part-time faculty increased by 74 percent between 1999 and 2011, and then decreased by 4 percent between 2011 and 2016.

Programs, Courses, and Completions

Undergraduate Degree Fields
In 2015–16, 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 (381,000 degrees); health professions and related programs (191,000 degrees); and business (128,000 degrees). Of the 1.9 million bachelor's degrees conferred in 2015–16, over half were concentrated in six fields of study: business (372,000 degrees), health professions and related programs (229,000 degrees), social sciences and history (161,000 degrees), psychology (117,000 degrees), biological and biomedical sciences (114,000 degrees), and engineering (107,000 degrees).

Graduate Degree Fields
In 2015–16, over half of the 786,000 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 (110,000 degrees). Of the 178,000 doctor's degrees conferred, almost two-thirds were concentrated in two fields: health professions and related programs (73,700 degrees) and legal professions and studies (37,000).

Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates
About 60 percent of students who began seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2010 completed that degree 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 2015–16. The number of certificates below the associate's level conferred during this period increased by 70 percent. The number of degrees conferred during this period increased by 74 percent at the associate's level, by 54 percent at the bachelor's level, by 66 percent at the master's level, and by 49 percent at the doctor's level.

Finances and Resources

Price of Attending an Undergraduate Institution
In 2015–16, the average net price of attendance (total cost minus grant and scholarship aid) at 4-year institutions for first-time, full-time undergraduate students at public institutions was $13,400, compared with $26,200 at private nonprofit institutions and $22,300 at private for-profit institutions (in constant 2016–17 dollars).

Loans for Undergraduate Students
In 2015–16, the average annual undergraduate student loan amount of $7,100 was 2 percent lower than the 2010–11 average of $7,300 (in constant 2016–17 dollars). Less than half (46 percent) of first-time, full-time undergraduate students were awarded loan aid in 2015–16, a 4 percentage point decrease from 2010–11 (50 percent).

Sources of Financial Aid
The percentage of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students at 4-year postsecondary institutions who were awarded financial aid was higher in 2015–16 (85 percent) than in 2000–01 (75 percent).

Postsecondary Institution Revenues
Between 2010–11 and 2015–16, revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student increased by 23 percent at public institutions (from $6,003 to $7,380 in constant 2016–17 dollars) and by 7 percent at private nonprofit institutions (from $20,071 to $21,394). At private for-profit institutions, revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student were 5 percent lower in 2015–16 than in 2010–11 ($15,806 vs. $16,698).

Postsecondary Institution Expenses
In 2015–16, instruction expenses per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student (in constant 2016–17 dollars) was the largest expense category at public institutions ($10,422) and private nonprofit institutions ($17,860). At private for-profit institutions, the combined category of student services, academic support, and institutional support expenses per FTE student was the largest expense category ($10,398).

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 2017. During this time, the percentage who had completed high school increased from 88 to 92 percent, the percentage with an associate's or higher degree increased from 38 to 46 percent, the percentage with a bachelor's or higher degree increased from 29 to 36 percent, and the percentage with a master's or higher degree increased from 5 to 9 percent.

Youth Neither Enrolled in School nor Working
In 2016, some 17 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds were neither enrolled in school nor working, compared to 12 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds and 5 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds. In each age group, the percentage who were neither in school nor working was higher for those in poor households than for those in nonpoor households. For example, among 20- to 24-year-olds in 2016, some 31 percent of those in poor households were neither in school nor working, compared to 13 percent of those in nonpoor households.

Economic Outcomes

Annual Earnings of Young Adults
In 2016, the median earnings of young adults with a bachelor's degree ($50,000) were 57 percent higher than those of young adult high school completers ($31,800). The median earnings of young adult high school completers were 26 percent higher than those of young adults who did not complete high school ($25,400).

Employment and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment
In 2017, 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 57 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 educations 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.

Finances

Education Expenditures by Country
In 2014, the United States spent $12,300 per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student on elementary and secondary education, which was 29 percent higher than the OECD average of $9,600. At the postsecondary level, the United States spent $29,700 per FTE student, which was 81 percent higher than the OECD average of $16,400.

Attainment

International Educational Attainment
Across OECD countries, the average percentage of the adult population with any postsecondary degree was 36 percent in 2016, an increase of 14 percentage points from 2000. During the same period, the percentage of U.S. adults with any postsecondary degree increased 9 percentage points to 46 percent.