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Findings: Postsecondary/College

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Student Enrollments

  • From 2003-04 to 2011-12, the proportion of undergraduates who were seeking a subbaccalaureate certificate increased slightly from 7 percent to 8 percent. (see figure)
  • In 2011-12, some 34 percent of subbaccalaureate certificate seekers had already earned a postsecondary certificate or degree, an increase from 28 percent in 2003-04. (see figure)
  • In 2011-12, the predominant field of study for subbaccalaureate certificate seekers was health care, comprising 42 percent of certificate enrollments. (see figure)

Student Persistence, Attainment, and Labor Market Outcomes


Persistence and Attainment

  • Subbaccalaureate students have a lower rate of persistence and attainment than baccalaureate students. (see figure)
  • But students seeking a subbaccalaureate credential in an occupational field of study have a persistence and attainment rate that is not measurably different from that of subbaccalaureate students in other fields of study. (see figure)

Labor Market Outcomes

  • Students who complete a postsecondary credential have higher employment rates than noncompleters, and those who earn a degree have higher employment rates than those who earn a certificate. (see figure)
  • Compared to students who earn an academic credential, a higher proportion of students who earn an occupational credential were employed in 2009. (see figure)
  • Among employed completers, a higher proportion of those with an occupational credential report working in a job related to their field of study, compared to those with an academic credential. (see figure)

Institutions and Offerings

  • The number of postsecondary institutions was higher in 2014 than in 2000, particularly among institutions that offer subbaccalaureate occupational education. (see figure)
  • Among institutions overall, and among institutions offering subbaccalaureate occupational education, growth was restricted to the for-profit sector. (see figure) As a result, for-profit institutions increased from 47 percent of all institutions that offer subbaccalaureate occupational education in 2000 to 57 percent in 2014. (see figure)

Recent Postsecondary/ College Publications