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 24 percent between 1996 and 2006 (table 303.10 and figure 12). Fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 12 percent higher in 2016 (19.8 million) than in 2006 (17.8 million). The overall increase between 2006 and 2016 reflects an increase of 18 percent between 2006 and 2010, followed by a decrease of 6 percent between 2010 and 2016. Similarly, the number of full-time students rose 19 percent from 2006 to 2010, and then fell 7 percent from 2010 to 2016. The number of part-time students rose 18 percent from 2006 to 2011, and then fell 4 percent from 2011 to 2016, for an overall increase of 13 percent between 2006 and 2016. The number of female students was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 2006, while the number of male students 14 percent higher. Although male enrollment increased by a larger percentage than female enrollment between 2006 and 2016, the majority (56 percent) of students in 2016 were female. Male and female enrollments were both higher in 2016 than in 2006, but there were increases during the first part of this period followed by smaller decreases during the most recent part of the period (a decrease of 5 percent for males from 2010 to 2016 and a decrease of 6 percent for females). In addition to enrollment in degree-granting institutions, about 383,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible, postsecondary institutions in fall 2016 (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 2006 and 2016, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds in the population rose from 29.6 million to 30.8 million, an increase of 4 percent (table 101.10). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 41 percent in 2016, which was higher than the percentage in 2006 (37 percent) (table 302.60). For male 18- to 24-year-olds, the enrollment rate was higher in 2016 (39 percent) than in 2006 (34 percent). The comparable enrollment rate for females (44 percent) was also higher than in 2006 (41 percent). The enrollment rate for Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 24 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2016. In 2016, the enrollment rate for Whites in the same age group was 42 percent, and the enrollment rate for Blacks was 36 percent; neither of these rates was measurably different from the corresponding rate in 2006.
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 6 percent between 2011 and 2016. Similarly, fall 2016 enrollment was lower than fall 2011 enrollment in the majority of states (44). The largest declines were in Iowa (-28 percent) and Arizona (-24 percent). In contrast, enrollment was higher in 2016 than in 2011 in six states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases were in New Hampshire (72 percent), followed by Idaho (37 percent), Utah (18 percent), and Delaware (8 percent). The enrollment declines in Iowa and Arizona between 2011 and 2016 resulted primarily from declines among private for-profit institutions, while the enrollment increases in New Hampshire, Idaho, Utah, and Delaware during the same period resulted primarily from increases among private nonprofit institutions.3
Between fall 2006 and fall 2016, 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 13 percent from 2006 to 2016, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over was 11 percent higher in 2016 than in 2006. From 2016 to 2027, NCES projects the increase for students under age 25 to be 5 percent, compared with 1 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. Undergraduate enrollment was 11 percent higher in 2016 (16.9 million) than in 2006 (15.2 million). This overall change reflects a 19 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment between 2006 and 2010 (when undergraduate enrollment reached 18.1 million), followed by a 7 percent decrease between 2010 and 2016. 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 2016, rising a total of 80 percent. During the last decade of this period, between 2006 and 2016, postbaccalaureate enrollment rose 15 percent, from 2.6 million to 3.0 million. Unlike undergraduate enrollment, which was lower in 2016 than in 2010, postbaccalaureate enrollment was higher in 2016 than in 2010.
Since fall 1988, the number of female students in postbaccalaureate programs has exceeded the number of male students (table 303.80). Between 2006 and 2016, the number of full-time male postbaccalaureate students increased by 22 percent, compared with a 23 percent increase in the number of full-time female postbaccalaureate students. Among part-time postbaccalaureate students, the number of males enrolled in 2016 was 6 percent higher than in 2006, while the number of females was 8 percent higher.
Nineteen percent of undergraduates in 2015–16 reported having a disability (table 311.10). In 2015–16, the percentage of undergraduates who reported having a disability was 19 percent for male students and 20 percent for female students. 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, 26 percent of undergraduates who were veterans reported having a disability, compared with 19 percent of undergraduates who were not veterans. The percentage of undergraduates having a disability was higher among those age 30 and over (23 percent) than among 15- to 23-year-olds (18 percent). Among dependent undergraduates, 17 percent reported having a disability, which was lower than the percentages for independent undergraduates who were married (21 percent) or unmarried (24 percent). A lower percentage of Asian undergraduates (15 percent) had a disability compared to White, Hispanic, and Black students (21, 18, and 17 percent, respectively). The percentage of postbaccalaureate students who reported having a disability in 2015–16 (12 percent) was lower than the percentage for undergraduates (19 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 2016, the percentage of Hispanic students rose from 4 percent to 18 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 2016, but the 2016 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 2016 (0.8 percent) than in 1976 (0.7 percent). During the same period, the percentage of White students fell from 84 percent to 57 percent. About 4 percent of students in 2016 were of Two or more races. Race/ethnicity is not reported for nonresident aliens, who made up 5 percent of total enrollment in 2016.
Of the 19.8 million students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2016, some 17 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, 15 percent of students took their college program exclusively through distance education courses. The remaining 68 percent of students took no distance education courses. About 11 percent of students at public institutions took their coursework exclusively through distance education courses, compared with 18 percent of students at private nonprofit institutions and 59 percent of students at private for-profit institutions. About 13 percent of undergraduates took their coursework exclusively through distance education courses, compared to 28 percent of postbaccalaureate students.
Despite the sizable numbers of small degree-granting colleges, most students attend larger colleges and universities. In fall 2016, some 42 percent of institutions had fewer than 1,000 students; however, these campuses enrolled 3 percent of all college students (table 317.40). While 13 percent of campuses enrolled 10,000 or more students, they accounted for 60 percent of total college enrollment.
In fall 2016, the five institutions with the highest enrollment (including distance education as well as in-person enrollment) were University of Phoenix, with 131,600 students; Western Governors University, with 84,300 students; Ivy Tech Community College, with 78,900 students; Grand Canyon University, with 75,800 students; and Liberty University, with 75,800 students (table 312.10).
Approximately 3.9 million people were employed in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2016, including 1.5 million faculty, 0.4 million graduate assistants, and 2.0 million other staff (table 314.20). Out of the 1.5 million faculty in 2016, 0.8 million were full-time and 0.7 million were part-time faculty. From 2005 to 2016, the proportion of staff who were faculty rose from 38 percent to 39 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 in 2016 (10 percent) was higher than the percentage in 2005 (9 percent). The full-time-equivalent (FTE) student/FTE staff ratio at degree-granting institutions was lower in 2016 (5.0) than in 2005 (5.1) (table 314.10 and figure 15). Also, the FTE student/FTE faculty ratio was lower in 2016 (14.1) than in 2005 (15.0).
Degree-granting postsecondary institutions differ in their practices of employing part-time and full-time staff. In fall 2016, 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 71 percent at private nonprofit 2-year institutions (table 314.30). The percentage of faculty employed full time was higher at public 4-year institutions (66 percent) than at private nonprofit 4-year institutions (55 percent), private for-profit 4-year institutions (16 percent), private nonprofit 2-year institutions (46 percent), private for-profit 2-year institutions (36 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 2016, the number of full-time staff increased by 16 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 (19 percent) and graduate assistants (19 percent) during this time period.
In fall 2016, 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 0.3 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 28 percent of graduate assistants and 31 percent of other staff in nonfaculty positions in 2016. 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 (28 percent), public 2-year institutions (27 percent), and private nonprofit 4-year institutions (25 percent), but the proportion was higher at private for-profit 4-year institutions (33 percent), private nonprofit 2-year institutions (35 percent), and private for-profit 2-year institutions (41 percent).
On average, full-time faculty and instructional staff spent 58 percent of their time teaching in 2003 (web-only 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 ($77,600) to 1980–81 ($65,300) (table 316.10). During the 1980s, average salaries rose and recouped most of the losses. Between 1990–91 and 2016–17, there was a further increase in average faculty salaries, resulting in an average salary in 2016–17 ($84,600) that was 9 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 2016–17 ($91,900) was 4 percent higher than in 2006–07 ($88,200 in constant 2016–17 dollars). For female faculty, the average salary in 2016–17 ($76,100) was 5 percent higher than the salary in 2006–07 ($72,500). In 2016–17, average salaries for male faculty were 21 percent higher than for female faculty, compared with 22 percent higher in 2006–07.
The percentage of faculty with tenure has declined since 1993–94. Of those faculty at institutions with tenure systems, 46 percent of full-time faculty had tenure in 2016–17, 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 2016–17 (54 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 (1.5 percent in 2016–17) (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-five percent of males had tenure in 2016–17, compared with 42 percent of females. In 2016–17, about 51 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 2016–17 academic year, 4,360 accredited institutions offered degrees at the associate’s level or above (table 317.10). These included 1,623 public institutions, 1,682 private nonprofit institutions, and 1,055 private for-profit institutions. Of the 4,360 degree-granting institutions, 2,832 were 4-year institutions that awarded degrees at the bachelor’s or higher level, and 1,528 were 2-year institutions that offered associate’s degrees as their highest award. In 2015–16, associate’s degrees were awarded by 2,759 institutions, bachelor’s degrees by 2,447 institutions, master’s degrees by 1,920 institutions, and doctor’s degrees by 981 institutions (table 318.60). In addition to degree-granting institutions, 2,246 non-degree-granting institutions offered postsecondary education in 2016–17 but did not grant degrees at the associate’s or higher level (table 317.30).
Growing numbers of people are completing postsecondary degrees. Between 2005–06 and 2015–16, 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 41 percent from 713,000 to 1,008,000, the number of bachelor’s degrees increased by 29 percent from 1,485,000 to 1,921,000, the number of master’s degrees increased by 31 percent from 600,000 to 786,000, and the number of doctor’s degrees increased by 29 percent from 138,000 to 178,000. 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, 939,000 certificates were awarded by postsecondary institutions participating in federal Title IV financial aid programs in 2015–16 (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 2005–06 and 2015–16, the number of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’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 45 percent during this period, while the number awarded to females increased by 39 percent. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to males increased by 30 percent (from 630,600 to 821,779, an increase of 191,179 degrees), while the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to females increased by 29 percent (from 854,642 to 1,098,939, an increase of 244, 297 degrees). The number of master’s degrees awarded to males increased by 33 percent, while the number awarded to females increased by 30 percent. In contrast, the number of doctor’s degrees increased at a higher rate for females than males between 2005–06 and 2015–16. The number of females earning doctor’s degrees increased 36 percent, while the number of males earning doctor’s degrees increased 22 percent.
Of the 1,921,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2015–16, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (372,000), health professions and related programs (229,000), social sciences and history (161,000), psychology (117,000), biological and biomedical sciences (114,000), engineering (107,000), visual and performing arts (93,000), and communication, journalism, and related programs (93,000) (table 322.10). At the master’s degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (187,000), education (146,000), and health professions and related programs (110,000) (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 (73,700), legal professions and studies (37,000), education (11,800), engineering (10,200), biological and biomedical sciences (7,900), psychology (6,500), and physical sciences and science technologies (6,000) (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 29 percent overall between 2005–06 and 2015–16, 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 was 9 percent lower in 2010–11 than in 2005–06, but then increased 50 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. In contrast, the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the combined fields of engineering and engineering technologies increased 14 percent between 2005–06 and 2010–11, and then increased a further 33 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. 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 24 percent between 2005–06 and 2010–11 and then by 29 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. The number of degrees conferred in health professions and related programs increased by 56 percent between 2005–06 and 2010–11 and then by 60 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. Also, the number of degrees conferred in public administration and social services increased by 22 percent between 2005–06 and 2010–11 and then by 28 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. Other fields with large numbers of degrees (over 10,000 in 2015–16) that showed increases of 30 percent or more between 2010–11 and 2015–16 included parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies (42 percent) and mathematics and statistics (33 percent). Some fields with sizable numbers of degrees did not have increases during the 2010–11 to 2015–16 period. The number of degrees in philosophy and religious studies decreased 21 percent between 2010–11 and 2015–16. Also during this period, the number of degrees in English language and literature/letters decreased 19 percent; the number of degrees in education decreased 16 percent; the number of degrees in foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics decreased 15 percent; the number of degrees in social sciences and history decreased 9 percent; and the number of degrees in liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities decreased 7 percent. The number of degrees in visual and performing arts was 1 percent lower in 2015–16 than in 2010–11.
Among first-time students who were seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and attending a 4-year institution full time in 2010, about 41 percent completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at that institution within 4 years, while 56 percent did so within 5 years, and 60 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 2010. 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 2010 cohort at private nonprofit institutions was 66 percent, compared with 59 percent at public institutions and 26 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 2010 cohort was 74 percent, compared with 64 percent for Whites, 60 percent for students of Two or more races, 54 percent for Hispanics, 51 percent for Pacific Islanders, 40 percent for Blacks, and 39 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives.
For the 2016–17 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board were estimated to be $17,237 at public institutions, $44,551 at private nonprofit institutions, and $25,431 at private for-profit institutions (table 330.10). Between 2006–07 and 2016–17, prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at public institutions rose 31 percent, and prices at private nonprofit institutions rose 24 percent, after adjustment for inflation. The price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at private for-profit institutions decreased 11 percent between 2006–07 and 2016–17, after adjustment for inflation.
In 2015–16, about 86 percent of full-time undergraduate students received financial aid (grants, loans, work-study, or aid of multiple types) (table 331.10). About 70 percent of full-time undergraduates received federal financial aid in 2015–16, and 67 percent received aid from nonfederal sources. (Many 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 2016–17, 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 2016–17|
|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 2015–16, total revenue was $364 billion at public institutions, $183 billion at private nonprofit institutions, and $17 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 2015–16 (39 and 90 percent, respectively). Tuition and fees accounted for 21 percent of revenue at public institutions in 2015–16. 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 2015–16 (21 percent) was higher than the share from state appropriations (18 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 2015–16, 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 third-largest revenue category.
Average total expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student in 2015–16—shown in constant 2016–17 dollars throughout this paragraph—varied by institution control and level, as did changes in average total expenditures per FTE student between 2009–10 and 2015–16 (after adjustment for inflation). In 2015–16, average total expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student at public degree-granting institutions were $34,200 (table 334.10). These 2015–16 total expenditures per FTE student were 17 percent higher than in 2009–10. In 2015–16, public 4-year institutions had average total expenditures per FTE student of $44,000, compared with $15,100 at public 2-year institutions. At private nonprofit institutions, total expenditures per FTE student in 2015–16 were 9 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.30). In 2015–16, total expenditures per FTE student at private nonprofit institutions averaged $56,400 at 4-year institutions and $21,300 at 2-year institutions. The expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions in 2015–16 ($16,500) were 10 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.50). In 2015–16, total expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions averaged $16,200 at 4-year institutions and $17,600 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 2016, the market value of the endowment funds of colleges and universities was $542 billion, reflecting a decrease of 2 percent compared to the beginning of the fiscal year, when the total was $554 billion (table 333.90). At the end of fiscal year 2016, the 120 institutions with the largest endowments accounted for $401 billion, or about three-fourths of the national total. The five institutions with the largest endowments in 2016 were Harvard University ($36 billion), Yale University ($25 billion), the University of Texas System ($24 billion), Stanford University ($22 billion), and Princeton 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.
3 For 2011 state-level data on enrollment in private nonprofit and for-profit institutions, see Digest of Education Statistics 2013 tables 304.45 and 304.50, available at https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_304.45.asp and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_304.50.asp, respectively.