August 02, 2017


The 31 tables in this section reveal students’ journey through higher education: where they enroll, how they pay for college, to what extent their studies have shifted online, how many foreign students they count among their classmates, and whether they are likely to graduate or land a job that will help them pay back their student loans.

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A combination of efforts, among them paying more attention to students’ mental health, brought the change.

Doctoral universities and associate colleges each enroll almost a third of all students.

The largest growth outside the for-profit sector occurred at two private nonprofit master's institutions that offered classes entirely or largely online.

More than a third of first-time college students expected their families to contribute $10,000 or more to help pay for their freshman year.

Doctorate recipients in the physical sciences finished their degrees in the shortest period of time and at the youngest median age.

Graduation rates for all of the top 20 four-year private nonprofit colleges were above 90 percent, compared with six above 90 percent for the top 20 four-year public institutions.

Whatever their major, college graduates take a wide variety of jobs, with a similarly wide range of median earnings.

By the end of 2015, the total student-loan debt balance had risen to more than $1.2 trillion, accounting for over 10 percent of all household debt.

Women accumulated more debt than men at every level of higher education.

The number of massive open online courses offered worldwide grew by more than 2,000 in the past academic year. 

More than a quarter of all undergraduate students in the United States were 25 or older in the fall of 2015.

On average, public doctoral institutions had at least twice the enrollment of any other type of institution.

The share of undergraduate students who were 25 and older has dropped since 2011, and has fallen even more significantly since the 1990s.

Female graduate students who were 25 and older were more likely than their male counterparts to be from 35 to 64 years old.

Asians had the highest overall rate of returning for a second year to the same institution where they started.

At seven of the 40 colleges that were the most diverse in their sectors, more than 30 percent of students reported being of two or more races.

Four-year public institutions were the only sector with consistently positive growth over the past two years.

Of the more than 44 million people who owed money on student loans, nearly two-thirds had balances of $25,000 or less.

The 30 universities with the largest share of first-year Pell Grant recipients were all in the public sector.

The University of Phoenix-Arizona received more than $1.1 billion in federal aid for Pell Grants and federal student loans for undergraduates.

More than 80 percent of graduate students at four-year for-profit institutions were taking courses exclusively through distance education.

Coursera, founded in 2012 by two computer scientists at Stanford University, has a strong lead in the total number of learners.

Of the 20 institutions with the greatest number of such students, 12 were for-profit, five were private nonprofit, and three were public.

China's totals were still well ahead of India's, but the number of students from India jumped by 25 percent over the previous year.

India sent far fewer students to doctoral programs than it did to master's programs.

Universities in the Midwest are well represented among the doctoral institutions with the highest number of international students.

Of the 40 top doctoral institutions sending students abroad for academic credit, 13 were in the South.

Twelve research institutions had at least 20 Fulbright students by January 25 of the latest academic year.

Women were underrepresented in computer science, earning only about 20 percent of the associate, bachelor's, or doctoral degrees in the field.

The proportion of associate degrees grew fairly steadily, while bachelor's degrees have declined since 2005. 

Six public and seven private nonprofit institutions on the list raised their rates from below 50 percent to 50 percent or above.

Harvard was the only private university among the top 10 institutions for granting doctoral degrees.