2015 Higher Ed Student Snapshot: Noteworthy Data From Research

Indian female college student studying in a library

Recently, Pearson published the 2015 Student Snapshot: Higher Education in the United States infographic that includes a variety of informative facts and figures on college students—from enrollment, remediation, college completion, and degrees conferred to rates of loans, finances, and more. The data was derived from a wide range of government, public, and private sector research sources, for example: the National Student Clearinghouse, Digest of Education Statistics, Complete College America, and more.

Here are some of the noteworthy findings published on the infographic.


Undergraduate Enrollment

According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the number of students enrolling in college is decreasing. Beginning in 2014, total enrollments dropped below 20 million students. This year, student enrollment at postsecondary institutions decreased another 1.9 percent from the previous spring. What could be causing this reality? Perhaps one explanation is the rising cost of tuition.

Here are some other intriguing findings:


HED-Snapshot-GenderWomen are attending college at higher rates than men. The majority of college students are now women: 56 vs 44 percent



HED-Snapshot-Institution40 percent of college students are attending two-year schools vs. 60 percent who are attending four-year schools





HED-Snapshot-Student-Attendance60 percent of students attend college full-time and 40 percent attend part-time





Interestingly, regarding full-time students, 60 percent are not employed, 33 percent are employed part-time, and 7 percent are employed full-time. For part-time students, 24 percent are not employed, 39 percent are employed part-time, and 35 percent are employed full-time.


Remediation, College Completion & Degrees Conferred

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s report, Profile of Undergraduate Students: 2011–12, at two-year schools, 41 percent of students require remediation of some sort, while at four-year schools, 29 percent of students do. More than half, 55 percent, of students that begin a degree program will complete college.


HED-Snapshot-Degree-CompletionThe rate of degree completion by type of institution

Tuition, Financial Aid & Education Debt

Regarding tuition, here are the average costs for the 2014/2015 school year according to research from the College Board based on institution type:


Tuition for private, for-profit schools is nearly half that of four-year, private, non-profit schools. Data from the Digest of Education Statistics suggests that the percentage of total financial aid is nearly the same for the two cohorts.

Studies show that student debt is increasing for students at four-year colleges. The average amount of debt students owe after graduation is $28,400 and seven in ten students graduate with some school-related debt.

Download the infographic in its entirety.