Postsecondary education includes academic, career and technical, and continuing professional education programs after high school. American colleges and universities and career/technical institutions offer a diverse array of postsecondary educational experiences. For example, a community college normally offers the first 2 years of a standard college curriculum as well as a selection of terminal career and technical education programs. A university typically offers a full undergraduate course of study leading to a bachelor's degree, as well as programs leading to advanced degrees. A specialized career/technical institution offers training programs of varying lengths that are designed to prepare students for specific careers.
This chapter provides an overview of the latest statistics on postsecondary education, including data on various types of postsecondary institutions and programs. However, to maintain comparability over time, most of the data in the Digest are for degree-granting institutions, which are defined as postsecondary institutions that grant an associate's or higher degree and whose students are eligible to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs.1 Degree-granting institutions include almost all 2- and 4-year colleges and universities; they exclude institutions offering only career and technical programs of less than 2 years' duration and continuing education programs. The degree-granting institution classification currently used by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) includes approximately the same set of institutions as the higher education institution classification that was used by NCES prior to 1996–97.2 This chapter highlights historical data that enable the reader to observe long-range trends in college education in America.
Other chapters provide related information on postsecondary education. Data on price indexes and on the number of degrees held by the general population are shown in chapter 1. Chapter 4 contains tabulations on federal funding for postsecondary education. Information on employment outcomes for college graduates is shown in chapter 5. Chapter 7 contains data on college libraries. Further information on survey methodologies is presented in Appendix A: Guide to Sources and in the publications cited in the table source notes. See chapter 5 for information on adults' participation in nonpostsecondary education, such as adult secondary education classes (e.g., to prepare for the GED test) or English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
Fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased 23 percent between 1995 and 2005 (table 303.10 and figure 12). Between 2005 and 2015, enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased 14 percent, from 17.5 million to 20.0 million. The overall increase between 2005 and 2015 reflects an increase of 20 percent between 2005 and 2010, followed by a decrease of 5 percent between 2010 and 2015. Similarly, the number of full-time students rose 21 percent from 2005 to 2010, then fell 6 percent from 2010 to 2015, for an overall increase of 14 percent between 2005 and 2015. The number of part-time students rose 20 percent from 2005 to 2011, then fell 4 percent from 2011 to 2015, for an overall increase of 15 percent between 2005 and 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of female students rose 12 percent, while the number of male students rose 17 percent. Although male enrollment increased by a larger percentage than female enrollment between 2005 and 2015, the majority (56 percent) of students in 2015 were female. Both male and female enrollment increases between 2005 and 2015 reflect increases during the first part of this period followed by smaller decreases during the most recent part of the period (a decrease of 4 percent for males from 2010 to 2015 and a decrease of 6 percent for females). In addition to enrollment in degree-granting institutions, about 412,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible, postsecondary institutions in fall 2015 (table 303.20). These institutions are postsecondary institutions that do not award associate's or higher degrees; they include, for example, institutions that offer only career and technical programs of less than 2 years' duration.
Enrollment trends can be affected both by changes in population and by changing rates of enrollment. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds in the population rose from 29.4 million to 31.2 million, an increase of 6 percent (table 101.10). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 40 percent in 2015, which was not measurably different from the percentage in 2005 (table 302.60). For male 18- to 24-year-olds, the enrollment rate was higher in 2015 (38 percent) than in 2005 (35 percent). The comparable enrollment rate for females (43 percent) was not measurably different from the rate in 2005. The enrollment rate for Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 25 percent in 2005 to 37 percent in 2015. In 2015, the enrollment rate for Whites in the same age group was 42 percent, and the enrollment rate for Blacks was 35 percent; neither of these rates was measurably different from the corresponding rate in 2005.
Like enrollment in degree-granting institutions for the United States as a whole, the number of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions located within individual states generally has been lower in recent years (table 304.10 and figure 13). Overall, fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions declined 5 percent between 2010 and 2015. Similarly, fall 2015 enrollment was lower than fall 2010 enrollment in the majority of states (42). The largest declines were in Iowa (-28 percent), Arizona (-18 percent), New Mexico (-15 percent), and Michigan (-14 percent). In contrast, enrollment was higher in 2015 than in 2010 in 8 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases were in New Hampshire (64 percent), followed by Idaho (42 percent), Utah (15 percent), and Delaware (9 percent).
Between fall 2005 and fall 2015, the percentage increase in the number of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions was higher for students under age 25 than for older students; and this pattern is expected to continue in the coming years (table 303.40 and figure 14). The enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 15 percent from 2005 to 2015, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over increased by 13 percent. From 2015 to 2026, NCES projects the increase for students under age 25 to be 17 percent, compared with 8 percent for students age 25 and over.
Enrollment trends have differed at the undergraduate and postbaccalaureate levels. Undergraduate enrollment increased 47 percent between fall 1970 and fall 1983, when it reached 10.8 million (table 303.70). Undergraduate enrollment dipped to 10.6 million in 1984 and 1985, but then increased each year from 1985 to 1992, rising 18 percent before stabilizing between 1992 and 1998. Between 2005 and 2015, undergraduate enrollment rose 14 percent overall, from 15.0 million to 17.0 million. This overall increase reflects a 21 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment between 2005 and 2010 (when undergraduate enrollment reached 18.1 million), followed by a 6 percent decrease between 2010 and 2015. Postbaccalaureate enrollment increased 34 percent between 1970 and 1984, with most of this increase occurring in the early and mid-1970s (table 303.80). Postbaccalaureate enrollment increased from 1985 to 2015, rising a total of 78 percent. During the last decade of this period, between 2005 and 2015, postbaccalaureate enrollment rose 17 percent, from 2.5 million to 2.9 million.
Since fall 1988, the number of female students in postbaccalaureate programs has exceeded the number of male students. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of full-time male postbaccalaureate students increased by 24 percent, compared with a 25 percent increase in the number of full-time female postbaccalaureate students. Among part-time postbaccalaureate students, the number of males enrolled in 2015 was 6 percent higher than in 2005, while the number of females was 8 percent higher.
Eleven percent of undergraduates in both 2007–08 and 2011–12 reported having a disability (table 311.10). In 2011–12, the percentage of undergraduates who reported having a disability was 11 percent for both male and female students. However, there were some differences in the percentages of undergraduates with disabilities by characteristics such as veteran status, age, dependency status, and race/ethnicity. For example, 21 percent of undergraduates who were veterans reported having a disability, compared with 11 percent of undergraduates who were not veterans. The percentage of undergraduates having a disability was higher among those age 30 and over (16 percent) than among 15- to 23-year-olds (9 percent) and 24- to 29-year-olds (11 percent). Among dependent undergraduates, 9 percent reported having a disability, which was lower than the percentages for independent undergraduates who were married (13 percent) or unmarried (14 percent). Compared to undergraduates of other racial/ethnic groups, a lower percentage of Asian undergraduates (8 percent) had a disability. The percentage of postbaccalaureate students who reported having a disability in 2011–12 (5 percent) was lower than the percentage for undergraduates (11 percent).
The percentage of American college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black has been increasing (table 306.10). From fall 1976 to fall 2015, the percentage of Hispanic students rose from 4 percent to 17 percent of all U.S. residents enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, and the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students rose from 2 percent to 7 percent. The percentage of Black students increased from 10 percent in 1976 to 14 percent in 2015, but the 2015 percentage reflects a decrease since 2011, when Black students made up 15 percent of all enrolled U.S. residents. The percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students was higher in 2015 (0.8 percent) than in 1976 (0.7 percent). During the same period, the percentage of White students fell from 84 percent to 58 percent. Race/ethnicity is not reported for nonresident aliens, who made up 5 percent of total enrollment in 2015.
Of the 20.0 million students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2015, some 15 percent took at least one distance education course as part of their program that included a mix of in-person and distance education courses (table 311.15). In addition, 14 percent of students took their college program exclusively through distance education courses. The remaining 70 percent of students took no distance education courses. About 10 percent of students at public institutions took their coursework exclusively through distance education courses, compared to 16 percent of students at private nonprofit institutions and 56 percent of students at private for-profit institutions. About 12 percent of undergraduates took their coursework exclusively through distance education courses, compared to 26 percent of postbaccalaureate students.
Despite the sizable numbers of small degree-granting colleges, most students attend larger colleges and universities. In fall 2015, some 44 percent of institutions had fewer than 1,000 students; however, these campuses enrolled 4 percent of all college students (table 317.40). While 12 percent of campuses enrolled 10,000 or more students, they accounted for 60 percent of total college enrollment.
In fall 2015, the five institutions with the highest enrollment were University of Phoenix, with 165,700 students; Ivy Tech Community College, with 81,700 students; Liberty University, with 80,500 students; Lone Star College System, with 70,700 students; and Western Governors University, with 70,500 students (table 312.10).
Approximately 3.9 million people were employed in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2015, including 1.6 million faculty, 0.4 million graduate assistants, and 2.0 million other staff (table 314.20). Out of the 1.6 million faculty in 2015, 0.8 million were full-time and 0.7 million were part-time faculty. From 2005 to 2015, the proportion of staff who were faculty rose from 38 percent to 40 percent. During the same period, the proportion of other staff not engaged in teaching decreased from 52 percent to 51 percent. The proportion of graduate assistants was 9 percent in both 2005 and 2015. The full-time-equivalent (FTE) student/FTE staff ratio at degree-granting institutions was 5.1 in both 2005 and 2015 (table 314.10 and figure 15). The FTE student/FTE faculty ratio was lower in 2015 (14.3) than in 2005 (15.0).
Degree-granting postsecondary institutions differ in their practices of employing part-time and full-time staff. In fall 2015, some 48 percent of the employees at public 2-year institutions were employed full time, compared with 68 percent at public 4-year institutions, 69 percent at private nonprofit 4-year institutions, and 73 percent at private nonprofit 2-year institutions (table 314.30). The percentage of faculty employed full time was higher at public 4-year institutions (67 percent) than at private nonprofit 4-year institutions (55 percent), private for-profit 4-year institutions (15 percent), private nonprofit 2-year institutions (55 percent), private for-profit 2-year institutions (37 percent), and public 2-year institutions (32 percent). In general, the number of full-time staff has been growing at a slower rate than the number of part-time staff (table 314.20). Between 2005 and 2015, the number of full-time staff increased by 15 percent, compared to an increase of 17 percent in the number of part-time staff. Most of the increase in part-time staff was due to increases in the number of part-time faculty (21 percent) and graduate assistants (17 percent) during this time period.
In fall 2015, some 7 percent of faculty at degree-granting institutions were Black (based on a faculty count that excludes nonresident aliens and other persons whose race/ethnicity was unknown), 8 percent were Asian, 5 percent were Hispanic, 0.5 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native, 1 percent were of Two or more races, and less than 0.5 percent were Pacific Islander (table 314.40). About 78 percent of all faculty were White; 40 percent were White males and 38 percent were White females. Staff who were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, or of Two or more races made up 27 percent of graduate assistants and 30 percent of other staff in nonfaculty positions in 2015. The proportion of total staff who were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of Two or more races was similar at public 4-year institutions (27 percent), public 2-year institutions (26 percent) and private nonprofit 4-year institutions (25 percent), but the proportion was higher at private for-profit 4-year institutions (32 percent), private nonprofit 2-year institutions (34 percent), and private for-profit 2-year institutions (39 percent).
On average, full-time faculty and instructional staff spent 58 percent of their time teaching in 2003 (table 315.30). Research and scholarship accounted for 20 percent of their time, and 22 percent was spent on other activities (administration, professional growth, etc.).
Faculty salaries generally lost purchasing power during the 1970s. In constant 2015–16 dollars, average salaries for faculty on 9-month contracts declined by 16 percent during the period from 1970–71 ($76,200) to 1980–81 ($64,100) (table 316.10). During the 1980s, average salaries rose and recouped most of the losses. Between 1990–91 and 2015–16, there was a further increase in average faculty salaries, resulting in an average salary in 2015–16 ($82,100) that was 8 percent higher than the average salary in 1970–71. The average salary for male faculty was higher than the average salary for female faculty in all years for which data are available. The average salary for male faculty in 2015–16 ($89,200) was 4 percent higher than in 2005–06 ($85,700 in constant 2015–16 dollars). For female faculty, the average salary in 2015–16 ($73,800) was 5 percent higher than the salary in 2005–06 ($70,200). In 2015–16, average salaries for male faculty were 21 percent higher than for female faculty, compared to 22 percent higher in 2005–06.
The percentage of faculty with tenure has declined since 1993–94. Of those faculty at institutions with tenure systems, 47 percent of full-time faculty had tenure in 2015–16, compared with 56 percent in 1993–94 (table 316.80). Also, the percentage of institutions with tenure systems decreased between 1993–94 (63 percent) and 2015–16 (52 percent). Part of this change was due to the expansion in the number of for-profit institutions (table 317.10), relatively few of which have tenure systems (1.3 percent in 2015–16) (table 316.80). At institutions with tenure systems, there were differences between males and females in the percentage of full-time instructional faculty having tenure. Fifty-six percent of males had tenure in 2015–16, compared with 42 percent of females. In 2015–16, about 52 percent of full-time instructional faculty had tenure at public institutions with tenure systems, compared with 45 percent at private nonprofit institutions with tenure systems and 17 percent at private for-profit institutions with tenure systems.
During the 2015–16 academic year, 4,583 accredited institutions offered degrees at the associate's level or above (table 317.10). These included 1,620 public institutions, 1,701 private nonprofit institutions, and 1,262 private for-profit institutions. Of the 4,583 degree-granting institutions, 3,004 were 4-year institutions that awarded degrees at the bachelor's or higher level, and 1,579 were 2-year institutions that offered associate's degrees as their highest award. In 2014–15, associate's degrees were awarded by 2,971 institutions, bachelor's degrees by 2,597 institutions, master's degrees by 1,926 institutions, and doctor's degrees by 954 institutions (table 318.60). In addition to degree-granting institutions, 2,438 non-degree-granting institutions offered postsecondary education in 2015–16, but did not grant degrees at the associate's or higher level (table 317.30).
Growing numbers of people are completing postsecondary degrees. Between 2004–05 and 2014–15, the number of associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees that were conferred rose (table 318.10). During this period, the number of associate's degrees increased by 46 percent, the number of bachelor's degrees increased by 32 percent, the number of master's degrees increased by 31 percent, and the number of doctor's degrees increased by 33 percent. The doctor's degree total includes most degrees formerly classified as first-professional, such as M.D. (medical), D.D.S. (dental), and J.D. (law) degrees. In addition to degrees awarded at the associate's and higher levels, 961,000 certificates were awarded by postsecondary institutions participating in federal Title IV financial aid programs in 2014–15 (table 320.20).
Since the mid-1980s, more females than males have earned associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees (table 318.10). Beginning in 2005–06, the number of females earning doctor's degrees has also exceeded the number of males. Between 2004–05 and 2014–15, the number of associate's and bachelor's degrees awarded to males increased at a higher rate than the number awarded to females. The number of associate's degrees awarded to males increased by 48 percent during this period, while the number awarded to females increased by 44 percent. The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to males increased by 33 percent, while the number awarded to females increased by 31 percent. In contrast, the number of master's and doctor's degrees increased at a higher rate for females than males between 2004–05 and 2014–15. The number of females earning master's degrees rose 32 percent during this period, while the number of males earning master's degrees rose 29 percent. Also, the number of females earning doctor's degrees increased 39 percent, while the number of males earning doctor's degrees increased 26 percent.
Of the 1,895,000 bachelor's degrees conferred in 2014–15, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (364,000), health professions and related programs (216,000), social sciences and history (167,000), psychology (118,000), biological and biomedical sciences (110,000), engineering (98,000), visual and performing arts (96,000), and education (92,000) (table 322.10). At the master's degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (185,000), education (147,000), and health professions and related programs (103,000) (table 323.10). At the doctor's degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of health professions and related programs (71,000), legal professions and studies (40,300), education (11,800), engineering (10,200), biological and biomedical sciences (8,100), psychology (6,600), and physical sciences and science technologies (5,800) (table 324.10).
In recent years, the numbers of bachelor's degrees conferred have followed patterns that differed significantly by field of study. While the number of bachelor's degrees conferred increased by 32 percent overall between 2004–05 and 2014–15, there was substantial variation among the different fields of study, as well as shifts in the patterns of change during this time period (table 322.10 and figure 16). For example, the number of degrees conferred in computer and information sciences decreased 27 percent between 2004–05 and 2009–10, but then increased 50 percent between 2009–10 and 2014–15. In contrast, the number of bachelor's degrees conferred in the combined fields of engineering and engineering technologies increased 12 percent between 2004–05 and 2009–10, and then increased a further 30 percent between 2009–10 and 2014–15. In a number of other major fields, the number of bachelor's degrees also increased by higher percentages in the second half of the 10-year period than in the first half. For example, the number of degrees conferred in agriculture and natural resources increased by 15 percent between 2004–05 and 2009–10 and then by 38 percent between 2009–10 and 2014–15. The number of degrees conferred in health professions and related programs increased by 61 percent between 2004–05 and 2009–10 and then by 67 percent between 2009–10 and 2014–15. Also, the number of degrees conferred in public administration and social services increased by 17 percent between 2004–05 and 2009–10 and then by 35 percent between 2009–10 and 2014–15. Other fields with sizable numbers of degrees (over 5,000 in 2014–15) that showed increases of 30 percent or more between 2009–10 and 2014–15 included homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting (44 percent); parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies (47 percent); and mathematics and statistics (36 percent). Some fields with sizable numbers of degrees did not have increases during the 2009–10 to 2014–15 period. The number of degrees in English language and literature/letters was 14 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10, and the number of degrees in philosophy and religious studies was 11 percent lower. The numbers of degrees in the fields of education; architecture and related services; and area, ethnic, cultural, gender, and group studies were each 10 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10. Also, the number of degrees in foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics was 9 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10; the number of degrees in liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities was 7 percent lower; and the number of degrees in social sciences and history was 3 percent lower.
Among first-time students who were seeking a bachelor's degree or its equivalent and attending a 4-year institution full time in 2009, about 40 percent completed a bachelor's degree or its equivalent at that institution within 4 years, while 55 percent did so within 5 years, and 59 percent did so within 6 years (table 326.10). These graduation rates were calculated as the total number of completers within the specified time to degree attainment divided by the cohort of students who first enrolled at that institution in 2009. Graduation rates were higher at private nonprofit institutions than at public or private for-profit institutions. For example, the 6-year graduation rate for the 2009 cohort at private nonprofit institutions was 66 percent, compared with 59 percent at public institutions and 23 percent at private for-profit institutions. Graduation rates also varied by race/ethnicity. At 4-year institutions overall, the 6-year graduation rate for Asian students in the 2009 cohort was 73 percent, compared with 63 percent for Whites, 59 percent for students of Two or more races, 54 percent for Hispanics, 49 percent for Pacific Islanders, 41 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 39 percent for Blacks.
For the 2015–16 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board were estimated to be $16,757 at public institutions, $43,065 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,776 at private for-profit institutions (table 330.10). Between 2005–06 and 2015–16, prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at public institutions rose 34 percent, and prices at private nonprofit institutions rose 26 percent, after adjustment for inflation. The price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at private for-profit institutions decreased 16 percent between 2005–06 and 2015–16, after adjustment for inflation.
In 2011–12, about 84 percent of full-time undergraduate students received financial aid (grants, loans, work-study, or aid of multiple types) (table 331.10). About 73 percent of full-time undergraduates received federal financial aid in 2011–12, and 57 percent received aid from nonfederal sources. (Some students receive aid from both federal and nonfederal sources.) Section 484(r) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, suspends a student's eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid if the student is convicted of certain drug-related offenses that were committed while the student was receiving Title IV aid. For 2013–14, less than 0.01 percent of postsecondary students had their eligibility to receive aid suspended due to a conviction (table C).
|Table C. Suspension of eligibility for Title IV federal student financial aid due to a drug-related conviction or failure to report conviction status on aid application form: 2007–08 through 2013–14|
|Award year||No suspension
|Suspension of eligibility|
|For full award year|
|#Rounds to zero.
NOTE: It is not possible to determine whether a student who lost eligibility due to a drug conviction otherwise would have received Title IV aid, since there are other reasons why an applicant may not receive aid. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), unpublished data.
In 2014–15, total revenue was $347 billion at public institutions, $200 billion at private nonprofit institutions, and $20 billion at private for-profit institutions (tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55 and figures 17, 18, and 19). The category of student tuition and fees typically accounts for a significant percentage of total revenue and was the largest single revenue source at both private nonprofit and for-profit institutions in 2014–15 (35 and 90 percent, respectively). Tuition and fees accounted for 21 percent of revenue at public institutions in 2014–15. Public institutions typically report Pell grants as revenue from federal grants, while private institutions report Pell grants as revenue from tuition and fees; this difference in reporting contributes to the smaller percentage of revenue reported as tuition and fees at public institutions compared to private institutions. At public institutions, the share of revenue from tuition and fees in 2014–15 (21 percent) was higher than the share from state appropriations (19 percent), while the share from state appropriations in 2007–08 (25 percent) was higher than that from tuition and fees (18 percent) (table 333.10). In 2014–15, tuition and fees constituted the largest revenue category at private nonprofit 2- and 4-year institutions, private for-profit 2- and 4-year institutions, and public 4-year institutions (tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55). At public 2-year institutions, tuition and fees constituted the fourth-largest revenue category.
Average total expenditures of institutions per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student in 2014–15—shown in constant 2015–16 dollars throughout this paragraph—varied by institution control and level, as did changes in average total expenditures per FTE student between 2009–10 and 2014–15 (after adjustment for inflation). In 2014–15, average total expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student at public degree-granting institutions were $31,800 (table 334.10). These 2014–15 total expenditures per FTE student were 10 percent higher than in 2009–10. In 2014–15, public 4-year institutions had average total expenditures per FTE student of $41,100, compared with $14,700 at public 2-year institutions. At private nonprofit institutions, total expenditures per FTE student in 2014–15 were 7 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.30). In 2014–15, total expenditures per FTE student at private nonprofit institutions averaged $54,200 at 4-year institutions and $20,200 at 2-year institutions. The expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions in 2014–15 ($15,700) were 7 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.50). In 2014–15, total expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions averaged $15,500 at 4-year institutions and $16,700 at 2-year institutions. This difference in expenditures per FTE student between 4-year and 2-year private for-profit institutions was relatively small compared to the differences between 4-year and 2-year institutions in the public and private nonprofit sectors.
At the end of fiscal year 2015, the market value of the endowment funds of colleges and universities was $547 billion, reflecting an increase of 3 percent compared to the beginning of the fiscal year, when the total was $533 billion (table 333.90). At the end of fiscal year 2015, the 120 institutions with the largest endowments accounted for $406 billion, or about three-fourths of the national total. The five institutions with the largest endowments in 2015 were Harvard University ($38 billion), Yale University ($26 billion), the University of Texas System ($23 billion), Princeton University ($22 billion), and Stanford University ($22 billion).
1 Title IV programs, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, provide financial aid to postsecondary students.
2 Included in the current degree-granting classification are some institutions (primarily 2-year colleges) that were not previously designated as higher education institutions. Excluded from the current degree-granting classification are a few institutions that were previously designated as higher education institutions even though they did not award an associate's or higher degree. The former higher education classification was defined as including institutions that were accredited by an agency or association that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or recognized directly by the Secretary of Education. The former higher education institutions offered courses that led to an associate's or higher degree, or were accepted for credit towards a degree.