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Indicator 22: Degrees Awarded
(Last Updated: July 2017)

The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between 2003–04 and 2013–14. During the same period, the number of degrees awarded also increased for students who were Black (by 46 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (by 43 percent), and White (by 19 percent).


Table 22.1. Number of degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions and percent change, by race/ethnicity and level of degree: Academic years 2003–04, 2012–13, and 2013–14

Table 22.1. Number of degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions and percent change, by race/ethnicity and level of degree: Academic years 2003–04, 2012–13, and 2013–14


—Not available.
1 Total includes nonresident aliens and, in 2012–13 and 2013–14, students of Two or more races.
2 Includes less-than-1-year awards and 1- to less-than-4-year awards (excluding associate's degrees).
3 Includes Ph.D., Ed.D., and comparable degrees at the doctoral level. Includes most degrees formerly classified as first-professional, such as M.D., D.D.S., and law degrees.
NOTE: Data are for postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Separate data on students of Two or more races were not collected until 2010–11. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Reported racial/ethnic distributions of students by level of degree and sex were used to estimate race/ethnicity for students whose race/ethnicity was not reported.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2004, Fall 2013, and Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, tables 320.20, 321.20, 322.20, 323.20, and 324.20.


This indicator examines the number of degrees1 awarded in 2013–14 across degree levels and racial/ethnic groups. Between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14, the total number of postsecondary degrees awarded increased at all degree levels: certificates by 41 percent (from 688,000 to 969,000), associate's degrees by 51 percent (from 665,000 to 1.0 million), bachelor's degrees by 34 percent (from 1.4 million to 1.9 million), master's degrees by 34 percent (from 564,000 to 754,000), and doctor's degrees by 41 percent (from 126,000 to 178,000). Reflecting the overall increase in the number of postsecondary degrees awarded at each level, the number of postsecondary degrees awarded generally increased for racial/ethnic groups at each level between 2003–04 and 2013–14.


Figure 22.1. Percentage distribution of certificates and associate's degrees awarded by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14

Figure 22.1. Percentage distribution of certificates and associate's degrees awarded by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14


—Not available.
NOTE: Data are for postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data include only U.S. citizens. Certificates include less-than-1-year awards and 1- to less-than-4-year awards (excluding associate's degrees). Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Separate data on students of Two or more races were not collected until 2010–11. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2004 and Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, tables 320.20 and 321.20.


The number of postsecondary certificates below the baccalaureate level awarded to Hispanic students increased by 73 percent (from 107,200 to 185,600) between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14. During this period, the number of certificates awarded increased by 37 percent for Black students (from 129,900 to 177,900), by 33 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 32,800 to 43,800), by 30 percent for White students (from 403,000 to 523,200), and by 29 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students (from 8,400 to 10,800). As a result of these changes, the share of all certificates awarded to Hispanic students increased from 16 percent in 2003–04 to 19 percent in 2013–14. In contrast, the share of certificates earned by White students decreased from 59 to 54 percent during this period. The shares of certificates earned were similar in 2003–04 and 2013–14 for Black students (19 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander students (5 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (1 percent).

At the associate's degree level, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14 (a 131 percent increase, from 72,300 to 167,100), and the number of degrees earned by Black students increased by 66 percent (from 81,200 to 134,500). During this period, the number of associate's degrees awarded increased by 52 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 33,100 to 50,300), by 32 percent for White students (from 456,000 to 601,400), and by 27 percent by American Indian/Alaska Native students (from 8,100 to 10,300). As a result of the changes over this period, the share of all associate's degrees awarded to Hispanic students increased from 11 to 17 percent, and the share earned by Black students increased from 12 to 14 percent. In contrast, the share of associate's degrees earned by White students over the same period decreased from 70 to 61 percent. In both 2003–04 and 2013–14, the share of associate's degrees earned by Asian/Pacific Islander students was 5 percent, and the share earned by American Indian/Alaska Native was 1 percent.


Figure 22.2. Percentage distribution of bachelor's degrees awarded to U.S. citizens by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14

Figure 22.2. Percentage distribution of bachelor's degrees awarded to U.S. citizens by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14


—Not available.
NOTE: Data are for postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data include only U.S. citizens. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Separate data on students of Two or more races were not collected until 2010–11. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2004 and Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 322.20.


At the bachelor's degree level, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14 (a 114 percent increase, from 94,600 to 202,400), and the number awarded to Black students increased by 46 percent (from 131,200 to 191,300). During the same period, the number of degrees awarded increased by 43 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 92,100 to 131,700), and by 19 percent for White students (from 1.0 million to 1.2 million). Although there were some fluctuations in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students during this time, the number of degrees awarded in 2003–04 (10,600) was similar to the number awarded in 2013–14 (10,800). As a result of the changes over this period, the share of all bachelor's degrees earned by Hispanic students increased from 7 to 11 percent, and the share earned by Black students increased from 10 to 11 percent. In contrast, the share of bachelor's degrees earned by White students decreased from 76 percent in 2003–04 to 68 percent in 2013–14. The shares of bachelor's degrees earned by Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native students were 7 and 1 percent, respectively, in both 2003–04 and 2013–14.


Figure 22.3. Percentage distribution of associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex: Academic year 2013–14

Figure 22.3. Percentage distribution of associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex: Academic year 2013–14


NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data include only U.S. citizens. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, tables 321.20 and 322.20.


Across racial/ethnic groups, larger shares of undergraduate degrees and certificates were awarded to female students than to male students in academic year 2013–14. For example, the shares of bachelor's degrees earned by female students were 64 percent for Black students, 61 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students, 60 percent for Hispanic students and students of Two or more races,2 56 percent for White students, and 55 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students.


Figure 22.4. Percentage distribution of master's and doctor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14

Figure 22.4. Percentage distribution of master's and doctor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14


—Not available.
NOTE: Data are for postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data include only U.S. citizens. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Separate data on students of Two or more races were not collected until 2010–11. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2004 and Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 322.20.


The distribution of graduate degrees by race/ethnicity between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14 followed a pattern similar to that observed for undergraduate degrees. At the master's degree level, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students increased by 88 percent (from 29,800 to 56,000), and the number awarded to Black students increased by 72 percent (from 51,400 to 88,500). The number of master's degrees awarded during the period increased by 43 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 31,200 to 44,600), and by 19 percent for White students (373,400 to 444,700). The number of degrees awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students was 9 percent higher in 2013–14 (3,500) than in 2003–04 (3,200). As a result of the changes over the period, the share of all master's degrees earned by Hispanic students increased from 6 to 9 percent, the share earned by Black students increased from 11 to 14 percent, and the share earned by Asian/Pacific Islander students increased from 6 to 7 percent. The share of master's degrees earned by White students over the same period decreased from 76 to 68 percent. In both 2003–04 and 2013–14, American Indian/Alaska Native students accounted for 1 percent of master's degrees recipients.

At the doctor's degree level, the number of degrees awarded increased by 84 percent for Hispanic students (from 5,800 to 10,700), by 56 percent for Black students (from 8,100 to 12,600), and by 55 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 12,400 to 19,100) between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14. During the same period, the number of doctor's degrees awarded increased by 30 percent for White students (from 84,700 to 110,200). The number of degrees awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students was 12 percent higher in 2013–14 (860) than in 2003–04 (770). As a result of these changes, the share of all doctor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students increased from 5 to 7 percent, the share earned by Black students increased from 7 to 8 percent, and the share earned by Asian/Pacific Islander students increased from 11 to 12 percent over the period. In contrast, the share of doctor's degrees earned by White students decreased from 76 to 70 percent over the period. The share of doctor's degrees earned by American Indian/Alaska Native students was 1 percent in both 2003–04 and 2013–14.


Figure 22.5. Percentage distribution of master's and doctor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex: Academic year 2013–14

Figure 22.5. Percentage distribution of master's and doctor's degrees awarded by degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex: Academic year 2013–14


NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data include only U.S. citizens. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), IPEDS Fall 2014, Completions component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, tables 323.20 and 324.20.


In academic year 2013–14, the share of degrees awarded to female students at each graduate level was larger than that awarded to male students. This pattern was observed across all racial/ethnic groups, but was more pronounced for Black students than for students of other races/ethnicities. In 2013–14, female students earned 70 percent of the master's degrees awarded to Black students. The shares of master's degrees awarded to females of other racial/ethnic groups ranged from 55 percent among Asian/Pacific Islander students to 65 percent among American Indian/Alaska Native students. At the doctor's degree level, female students earned 64 percent of degrees awarded to Black students; the shares of doctor's degrees awarded to females of other racial/ethnic groups ranged from 52 percent among White students to 58 percent among American Indian/Alaska Native students.

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1 For the purposes of this indicator, the term "degree" is used to refer to a postsecondary award at any of the following levels: doctor's, master's, bachelor's, associate's, and certificate. Data reported by racial/ethnic groups includes only U.S. citizens.
2 Separate data on students of Two or more races were not collected until 2010–11.