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Report on ‘Condition of Education’ Sheds Light on Enrollment Trends

While the immediate college enrollment rate was generally unchanged between 2012 and 2022, the total number of undergraduates enrolled decreased by 13% over that decade, according to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Dr. Peggy G. CarrDr. Peggy G. CarrNCES, the statistical center within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, summarizes developments and trends on the education landscape. It compiles a set of “indicators” of the condition of education in the U.S., from pre-Kindergarten through postsecondary, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons.

NCES’s “Report on the Condition of Education” accrues those data and insights to examine changes over time. This year’s report has more integration of data for outlying areas, expanded findings for private schooling, and a new indicator spotlighting career and technical education.

“We continue to witness important shifts in enrollment — and in so many other facets of the educational experience for American families,” said NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr. “Having this comprehensive resource — whether the topic is enrollment, teacher turnover, career and technical education, even international comparisons — is powerful.”

The report found that, in 2022, some 45% of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions and 17% immediately enrolled in two-year institutions. Between fall 2012 and fall 2022, undergraduate enrollment increased by 2% at four-year institutions (from 10.6 million to 10.7 million students) and decreased by 35% at two-year institutions (from 7.2 million to 4.7 million students).

NCES has updated its Digest of Education Statistics State Dashboard, as an accompaniment to the Report on the Condition of Education, with state-level data on topics of current interest in American education. The center also plans to undergo a future modernization process to meet future needs of users.

“Our vision is to maintain the same level of rigor NCES is trusted for while also increasing the timeliness and level of detail found in the report,” Commissioner Carr said. “This may well include interim releases throughout the year as data become available, indicators reported at finer levels of geographic detail, and additional analyses to further describe the trends observed.”

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