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 26 percent between 1997 and 2007 (table 303.10 and figure 12). Fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 8 percent higher in 2017 (19.8 million) than in 2007 (18.3 million). The overall change between 2007 and 2017 reflects an increase of 15 percent between 2007 and 2010, followed by a decrease of 6 percent between 2010 and 2017. Similarly, the number of full-time students was higher in 2010 than 2007, but then fell 8 percent from 2010 to 2017. The number of part-time students rose 15 percent from 2007 to 2011, and then fell 4 percent from 2011 to 2017. The number of female students was 7 percent higher in 2017 than in 2007, while the number of male students was 10 percent higher. Although male enrollment increased by a larger percentage than female enrollment between 2007 and 2017, the majority (57 percent) of students in 2017 were female. Male and female enrollments were both higher in 2017 than in 2007, but there were increases during the early part of this period followed by decreases during the most recent part of the period (a decrease of 5 percent for males and 6 percent for females from 2010 to 2017). In addition to the students enrolled in degree-granting institutions, about 373,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible postsecondary institutions in fall 2017 (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. The number of 18- to 24-year-olds in the population was 30.6 million in 2017, about 3 percent higher than in 2007 (table 101.10). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 40 percent in 2017, which was higher than the percentage in 2007 (39 percent) (table 302.60). The 2017 enrollment rates for female 18- to 24-year-olds (44 percent) was higher than for their male peers (37 percent), but neither of their rates were measurably different from their respective 2007 rates. The enrollment rate for Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 27 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2017. In 2017, the enrollment rate for White 18- to 24-year-olds was 41 percent, and the enrollment rate for Black 18- to 24-year-olds was 36 percent; neither of these rates was measurably different from the corresponding rate in 2007.
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 4 percent between 2012 and 2017. Similarly, fall 2017 enrollment was lower than fall 2012 enrollment in the majority of states (42). The largest declines were in Iowa (-28 percent) and Arizona (-20 percent). In contrast, enrollment was higher in 2017 than in 2012 in eight states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases were in New Hampshire (80 percent),3 followed by Utah (24 percent), Idaho (22 percent), District of Columbia (6 percent), and Texas (6 percent). The enrollment declines in Iowa and Arizona between 2012 and 2017 resulted primarily from declines among private for-profit institutions, while the enrollment increases in New Hampshire, Utah, and Idaho during the same period resulted primarily from increases among private nonprofit institutions (tables 304.15, 304.21, and 304.22).
Between fall 2007 and fall 2017, the percentage increase in the number of students enrolled in degree-granting i10nstitutions 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 was 11 percent higher in 2017 than in 2007, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over was 5 percent higher. NCES projects that enrollment for students under age 25 will be 6 percent higher in 2028 than in 2017, while the enrollment of students age 25 and over will be 2 percent lower.
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).4 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 increased every year between 1998 and 2007. Undergraduate enrollment was 7 percent higher in 2017 (16.8 million) than in 2007 (15.6 million). This overall change reflects a 16 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment between 2007 and 2010 (when undergraduate enrollment reached 18.1 million), followed by a 7 percent decrease between 2010 and 2017. 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 2017, rising a total of 82 percent. During the last decade of this period, between 2007 and 2017, postbaccalaureate enrollment rose 14 percent, from 2.6 million to 3.0 million. Unlike undergraduate enrollment, which was lower in 2017 than in 2010, postbaccalaureate enrollment was higher in 2017 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 2007 and 2017, the number of full-time male postbaccalaureate students increased by 17 percent, compared with a 21 percent increase in the number of full-time female postbaccalaureate students. Among part-time postbaccalaureate students, the number of males enrolled in 2017 was 5 percent higher than in 2007, 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 than White, Hispanic, and Black undergraduates (21, 18, and 17 percent, respectively). The percentage of postbaccalaureate students who reported having a disability (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 306.30). From fall 1976 to fall 2017, the percentage of Hispanic students rose from 4 percent to 19 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 2017, but the 2017 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 in 2017 (0.7 percent) was about the same as in 1976 (0.7 percent). During the same period, the percentage of White students fell from 84 percent to 56 percent. About 4 percent of students in 2017 were of Two or more races. Race/ethnicity is not reported for nonresident aliens, who made up 5 percent of total enrollment in 2017 (table 306.10).
Of the 19.8 million students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2017, some 18 percent took at least one distance education course as part of a program that included a mix of in-person and distance education courses (table 311.15). In addition, 16 percent of students took their college program exclusively through distance education courses. The remaining 66 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 19 percent of students at private nonprofit institutions and 60 percent of students at private for-profit institutions. About 13 percent of undergraduates took their coursework exclusively through distance education courses, compared with 29 percent of postbaccalaureate students.
Despite the sizable numbers of small degree-granting colleges, most students attend larger colleges and universities. In fall 2017, 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 61 percent of total college enrollment.
In fall 2017, the five institutions with the highest enrollment (including distance education as well as in-person enrollment) were University of Phoenix, with 104,000 students; Western Governors University, with 98,600 students; Southern New Hampshire University with 91,000 students; Grand Canyon University, with 83,300 students; and Ivy Tech Community College, with 75,500 students (table 312.10). Enrollments in the four largest universities were primarily students enrolled in distance learning only.
Approximately 3.9 million people were employed in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2017, 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 2017, 0.8 million were full-time and 0.7 million were part-time faculty. From 2007 to 2017, the proportion of staff who were faculty rose about one percentage point to 39 percent. During the same period, the proportion of staff who were graduate assistants increased from 9 to 10 percent. The proportion of staff who were not engaged in teaching—that is, staff in any occupational category except the faculty and graduate assistant categories—decreased from 52 percent in 2007 to 51 percent in 2017. The full-time-equivalent (FTE) student/FTE staff ratio at degree-granting institutions in 2017 (5.0) was lower than in 2009 (5.4) (table 314.10 and figure 15). Also, the FTE student/FTE faculty ratio was lower in 2017 (14.0) than in 2009 (15.9).
Degree-granting postsecondary institutions differ in their practices of employing part-time and full-time staff. In fall 2017, 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 (47 percent), private for-profit 2-year institutions (36 percent), and public 2-year institutions (32 percent). In recent years, the number of full-time staff has been growing at a faster rate than the number of part-time staff (table 314.20). Between 2007 and 2017, the number of full-time staff increased by 11 percent, while the number of part-time staff was 8 percent higher in 2017 than in 2007. Most of the increase in part-time staff was due to increases in the number of part-time faculty (8 percent) and graduate assistants (17 percent) during this time period.
In fall 2017, some 8 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 0.2 percent were Pacific Islander (table 314.40). About 77 percent of all faculty were White; 39 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 29 percent of graduate assistants and 31 percent of other staff in nonfaculty positions in 2017. 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 (28 percent), and private nonprofit 4-year institutions (26 percent), but the proportion was higher at private for-profit 4-year institutions (33 percent), private nonprofit 2-year institutions (37 percent), and private for-profit 2-year institutions (43 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 2017–18 dollars, average salaries for faculty on 9-month contracts declined by 16 percent during the period from 1970–71 ($79,400 in constant 2017–18 dollars) to 1980–81 ($66,700) (table 316.10). During the 1980s, average salaries rose and recouped most of the losses. Between 1990–91 and 2017–18, there was a further increase in average faculty salaries, resulting in an average salary in 2017–18 ($86,700) that was 9 percent higher than the average salary in 1970–71. The average salary for male faculty in 2017–18 ($94,200) was 4 percent higher than in 2007–08 ($90,200). The average salary for female faculty in 2017–18 ($78,100) was 5 percent higher than the salary in 2007–08 ($74,300). The average salary for male faculty was higher than the average salary for female faculty in all years for which data are available. In 2017–18, average salaries for male faculty were 21 percent higher than for female faculty, the same percentage as in 2007–08.
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 2017–18, compared with 56 percent in 1993–94 (table 316.80). The percentage of institutions with tenure systems in 2017–18 (55 percent) was lower than in 1993–94 (63 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 (1.6 percent in 2017–18) (table 316.80). This pattern among institutions has shifted in more recent years. The percent of institutions with tenure systems increased from 49 percent in 2007–08 to 55 percent in 2017–18. The percentage of public institutions with a tenure system increased from 71 percent in 2007–08 to 75 percent in 2017–18. At institutions with tenure systems, there were differences between males and females in the percentage of full-time instructional faculty having tenure: 54 percent of males had tenure in 2017–18, compared with 41 percent of females. In 2017–18, about 50 percent of full-time instructional faculty had tenure at public institutions with tenure systems, compared with 44 percent at private nonprofit institutions with tenure systems and 18 percent at private for-profit institutions with tenure systems.
During the 2017–18 academic year, 4,313 accredited institutions offered degrees at the associate’s level or above (table 317.10). These included 1,626 public institutions, 1,689 private nonprofit institutions, and 998 private for-profit institutions. Of the 4,313 degree-granting institutions, 2,828 were 4-year institutions that awarded degrees at the bachelor’s or higher level, and 1,485 were 2-year institutions that offered associate’s degrees as their highest award. In 2016–17, associate’s degrees were awarded by 2,701 institutions, bachelor’s degrees by 2,445 institutions, master’s degrees by 1,924 institutions, and doctor’s degrees by 1,016 institutions (table 318.60). In addition to degree-granting institutions, 2,189 non-degree-granting institutions offered postsecondary education in 2017–18 but did not grant degrees at the associate’s or higher level (web-only table 317.30).
Growing numbers of people are completing postsecondary degrees. Between 2006–07 and 2016–17, 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 38 percent from 728,000 to 1,006,000, the number of bachelor’s degrees increased by 28 percent from 1,525,000 to 1,956,000, the number of master’s degrees increased by 32 percent from 611,000 to 805,000, and the number of doctor’s degrees increased by 25 percent from 145,000 to 181,000. 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, 945,000 certificates were awarded by postsecondary institutions participating in federal Title IV financial aid programs in 2016–17 (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 2006–07 and 2016–17, 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 43 percent during this period, while the number awarded to females increased by 35 percent. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to males increased by 29 percent (from 650,000 to 836,000, an increase of 186,000 degrees), while the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to females increased by 28 percent (from 875,000 to 1,120,000, an increase of 245,000 degrees). The number of master’s degrees awarded to males increased by 35 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 2006–07 and 2016–17. The number of females earning doctor’s degrees increased 32 percent, while the number of males earning doctor’s degrees increased 19 percent.
Of the 1,956,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2016–17, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (381,000), health professions and related programs (238,000), social sciences and history (159,000), psychology (117,000), biological and biomedical sciences (117,000), engineering (116,000), communication, journalism, and related programs (94,000), and visual and performing arts (91,000) (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 (119,000) (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 (77,700), legal professions and studies (35,100), education (12,700), engineering (10,400), biological and biomedical sciences (8,100), psychology (6,700), 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 28 percent overall between 2006–07 and 2016–17, 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 foreign languages increased 7 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12, but then decreased 19 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Also, the number of degrees in social sciences and history increased by 9 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12, but then decreased 11 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. In a number of other major fields, the number of bachelor’s degrees increased by higher percentages in the second half of the 10-year period than in the first half. The number of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the combined fields of engineering and engineering technologies increased 21 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12, and then increased a further 36 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Computer and information sciences was 12 percent higher in 2011–12 than in 2006–07, and then increased 51 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Some other major fields had smaller increases between 2011–12 and 2016–17 than between 2006–07 and 2011–12. For example, the number of degrees conferred in agriculture and natural resources increased by 34 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12 and then by 22 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. The number of degrees conferred in health professions and related programs increased by 61 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12 and then by 45 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Also, the number of degrees conferred in public administration and social services increased by 28 percent between 2006–07 and 2011–12 and then by 19 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Other fields with large numbers of degrees (over 10,000 in 2016–17) that showed increases of 25 percent or more between 2011–12 and 2016–17 included parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies (37 percent), and mathematics and statistics (28 percent). Some other fields with sizable numbers of degrees did not have increases during the 2011–12 to 2016–17 period. For example, the number of degrees in philosophy and religious studies decreased 23 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Also, the number of degrees in English language and literature/letters decreased 23 percent; the number of degrees in education decreased 19 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 5 percent lower in 2016–17 than in 2011–12.
Among first-time students who were seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and attending a 4-year institution full time in 2011, about 42 percent completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at that institution within 4 years, while 57 percent did so within 5 years, and 60 percent did so within 6 years (web-only 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 2011. 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 2011 cohort at private nonprofit institutions was 66 percent, compared with 60 percent at public institutions and 21 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 2011 cohort was 74 percent, compared with 64 percent for Whites, 57 percent for students of Two or more races, 55 percent for Hispanics, 49 percent for Pacific Islanders, 40 percent for Blacks, and 38 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives.
For the 2017–18 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board were estimated to be $17,797 at public institutions, $46,014 at private nonprofit institutions, and $26,261 at private for-profit institutions (table 330.10). Between 2007–08 and 2017–18, prices for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at public institutions rose 31 percent, and prices at private nonprofit institutions rose 23 percent, after adjustment for inflation. The price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at private for-profit institutions decreased 9 percent between 2007–08 and 2017–18, 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 2016–17, total revenue was $391 billion at public institutions, $243 billion at private nonprofit institutions, and $16 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 2016–17 (30 and 91 percent, respectively). Tuition and fees accounted for 20 percent of revenue at public institutions in 2016–17. 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 with private institutions. At public institutions, the share of revenue from tuition and fees in 2016–17 (20 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 2016–17, tuition and fees constituted the largest revenue category at private nonprofit 2-year 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, below state and local appropriations.
Average total expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student in 2016–17—shown in constant 2017–18 dollars throughout this paragraph—varied by institution control and level, as did changes in average total expenditures per FTE student between 2009–10 and 2016–17 (after adjustment for inflation). In 2016–17, average total expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student at public degree-granting institutions were $35,900 (table 334.10). These 2016–17 total expenditures per FTE student were 20 percent higher than in 2009–10. In 2016–17, public 4-year institutions had average total expenditures per FTE student of $45,000, compared with $16,500 at public 2-year institutions. At private nonprofit institutions, total expenditures per FTE student in 2016–17 ($58,300) were 11 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.30). In 2016–17, total expenditures per FTE student at private nonprofit institutions averaged $58,800 at 4-year institutions and $21,100 at 2-year institutions. The expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions in 2016–17 ($16,800) were 9 percent higher than in 2009–10 (table 334.50). In 2016–17, total expenditures per FTE student at private for-profit institutions averaged $16,500 at 4-year institutions and $18,000 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 with the differences between 4-year and 2-year institutions in the public and private nonprofit sectors.
At the end of fiscal year 2017, the market value of the endowment funds of colleges and universities was $598 billion, reflecting an increase of 10 percent compared with the beginning of the fiscal year, when the total was $544 billion (web-only table 333.90). At the end of fiscal year 2017, the 120 institutions with the largest endowments accounted for $443 billion, or about three-fourths of the national total. The five institutions with the largest endowments in 2017 were Harvard University ($37 billion), Yale University ($27 billion), the University of Texas System ($26 billion), Stanford University ($25 billion), and Princeton University ($23 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 toward a degree.
3 Enrollment growth in New Hampshire was primarily driven by increases in online enrollment at Southern New Hampshire University.
4 Fall 1983 and fall 1984 data on undergraduate enrollment are not included in the current version of table 303.70. For the fall 1983 and fall 1984 data, see the Digest of Education Statistics 2016 version of table 303.70, available at https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_303.70.asp.