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REPORT: Current Term Enrollment Report – Fall 2012

Current Term Enrollment Estimates ReportOverview

In the current term (fall 2012), enrollments have decreased in every sector except four-year private nonprofits, with the largest decreases taking place among four-year for-profits (-7.2 percent) and two-year publics (-3.1 percent).

This report is the first in a series of current term enrollment estimates from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, to be published every December and May. It includes national enrollment estimates, as well as subtotals by institutional sector, enrollment intensity, age group, and gender. Future reports will also include breakdowns by student level (undergraduate vs. graduate/professional). As of fall 2012, institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 94 percent of all Title IV, degree-granting enrollments in the nation. Most institutions submit enrollment data to the Clearinghouse several times per term, resulting in highly current data. Moreover, since the Clearinghouse collects data from institutions at the student level, the data also allow the reporting of unduplicated headcounts, avoiding double-counting of students who are concurrently enrolled in more than one institution.

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Figure 1: Percent Change from Previous Fall, Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Figure 1:   Percent Change from Previous Fall, Enrollment by Sector  (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Figure 1 shows percent changes in fall enrollments over the last three years. It is based on data submitted to the National Student Clearinghouse by December 1 of a given year, a cutoff that captures about 98.5 percent of the fall term data that will eventually be submitted. Estimates are adjusted for data coverage rates, which vary by institutional sector and year.


Table 1: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

 

Sector FALL 2012 FALL 2011 FALL 2010
Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total Enrollment, All Sectors 20,195,924 -1.8% 20,556,272 0.2% 20,510,526 2.3%
Four-Year Public 7,769,609 -0.6% 7,819,806 1.4% 7,712,447 1.6%
Four-Year Private Nonprofit 3,714,967 0.5% 3,697,254 3.3% 3,579,325 2.7%
Four-Year For-Profit 1,463,097 -7.2% 1,577,290 -3.8% 1,639,196 14.8%
Two-Year Public 6,706,913 -3.1% 6,918,915 -1.6% 7,030,516 0.3%
Unduplicated Student Headcount (All Sectors) 19,791,149 -1.7% 20,139,348 0.3% 20,079,147 2.3%

 

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 1 provides counts of fall term enrollments submitted to the Clearinghouse by December 1 of each year. Enrollments represent one student in one institution and thus would count twice a student enrolled simultaneously at two institutions. The unduplicated headcount provides the number of unique students with no double-counting. This figure can be used to determine the percentage of concurrent enrollments in any given year. In each fall term, about 2.1 percent of total enrollments can be accounted for by students enrolling in more than one institution.

Less-than-two-year institutions have been aggregated with two-year institutions. Two-year for-profits and two-year private nonprofits are not shown in the table due to small counts, but enrollments from those sectors are included in the overall totals. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.


Table 2: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Intensity Level (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)
Sector Enrollment Intensity FALL 2012 FALL 2011 FALL 2010
Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Full-Time 12,694,838 -2.1% 12,965,914 -0.1% 12,978,618 2.9%
Part-Time 7,501,086 -1.2% 7,590,358 0.8% 7,531,909 1.4%
Four-Year Public Full-Time 5,685,696 -0.2% 5,699,533 1.4% 5,622,316 1.7%
Part-Time 2,083,912 -1.7% 2,120,273 1.4% 2,090,130 1.2%
Four-Year Private Non-Profit Full-Time 2,879,052 0.3% 2,869,996 3.3% 2,778,064 3.1%
Part-Time 835,915 1.0% 827,258 3.2% 801,261 1.0%
Four-Year For-Profit Full-Time 1,140,157 -7.6% 1,233,795 -2.1% 1,260,058 17.3%
Part-Time 322,941 -6.0% 343,495 -9.4% 379,138 7.2%
Two-Year Public Full-Time 2,702,974 -5.7% 2,865,581 -5.3% 3,025,912 1.2%
Part-Time 4,003,939 -1.2% 4,053,334 1.2% 4,004,605 -0.4%

 

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 2 provides counts of fall term enrollments by the enrollment intensity of the student. Enrollment intensity is defined by the institution and based on the earliest data submitted for a student in any given term. As a result, the intensity generally reflects the student’s intended workload at the beginning of the term. Less-than-two-year institutions have been aggregated with two-year institutions. Two-year for-profits and two-year private nonprofits are not shown in the table due to small counts, but enrollments from those sectors are included in the overall totals. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.


Table 3: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Age Group (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)
Sector Age Group FALL 2012 FALL 2011 FALL 2010
Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors 24 and Under 12,537,423 -0.7% 12,625,514 0.4% 12,573,010 1.2%
Over 24 7,658,501 -3.4% 7,930,758 -0.1% 7,937,516 4.1%
Four-Year Public 24 and Under 5,428,786 0.1% 5,425,278 1.7% 5,334,096 1.0%
Over 24 2,340,822 -2.2% 2,394,528 0.7% 2,378,351 2.9%
Four-Year Private Non-Profit 24 and Under 2,297,446 0.8% 2,278,933 2.5% 2,223,338 1.9%
Over 24 1,417,521 -0.1% 1,418,321 4.6% 1,355,987 4.0%
Four-Year For-Profit 24 and Under 288,929 -8.3% 315,249 -2.6% 323,517 7.1%
Over 24 1,174,168 -7.0% 1,262,041 -4.1% 1,315,679 16.9%
Two-Year Public 24 and Under 4,028,340 -1.6% 4,091,941 -0.9% 4,130,628 -0.7%
Over 24 2,678,573 -5.2% 2,826,974 -2.5% 2,899,888 1.8%

 

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 3 provides counts of fall term enrollments by student age group. Student age is calculated as of the first day of the term (a date specific to the institution). Less-than-two-year institutions have been aggregated with two-year institutions. Two-year for-profits and two-year private nonprofits are not shown in the table due to small counts, but enrollments from those sectors are included in the overall totals. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.


Table 4: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Gender (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)
Sector Gender FALL 2012 FALL 2011 FALL 2010
Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Men 8,637,456 -1.4% 8,761,736 -0.2% 8,776,674 2.6%
Women 11,558,468 -2.0% 11,794,536 0.5% 11,733,853 2.1%
Four-Year Public Men 3,489,234 -0.4% 3,502,658 1.6% 3,448,880 2.0%
Women 4,280,374 -0.9% 4,317,148 1.3% 4,263,567 1.2%
Four-Year Private Non-Profit Men 1,551,429 0.8% 1,538,909 2.6% 1,500,331 2.7%
Women 2,163,538 0.2% 2,158,345 3.8% 2,078,994 2.6%
Four-Year For-Profit Men 504,718 -9.2% 555,712 -2.3% 568,937 16.6%
Women 958,379 -6.2% 1,021,578 -4.5% 1,070,260 13.9%
Two-Year Public Men 2,843,165 -2.4% 2,912,195 -2.0% 2,970,315 0.6%
Women 3,863,748 -3.6% 4,006,720 -1.3% 4,060,201 0.1%

 

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 4 provides counts of spring term enrollments by student age group. Student age is calculated as of the first day of the term (a date specific to the institution). Less-than-two-year institutions have been aggregated with two-year institutions. Two-year for-profits and two-year private nonprofits are not shown in the table due to small counts, but enrollments from those sectors are included in the overall totals. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.


Notes on the Data

National Coverage of the Data

As of fall 2012, institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 94 percent of all enrollments at Title IV, degree-granting institutions in the nation. Because Clearinghouse participation grew over the period covered by this report and because coverage of institutions (i.e., percentage of all institutions participating in the Clearinghouse) is not 100 percent for any individual year, weights were applied by institutional sector to better approximate enrollment figures for all institutions nationally. Using all IPEDS Title IV, degree-granting institutions as the base study population, weights for each institution type were calculated using the inverse of the rate of enrollment coverage for that sector in the relevant year. Given the unavailability of fall 2011 and fall 2012 IPEDS data at the time of the publication of this report, fall 2010 IPEDS enrollments were used as the basis for calculating the fall 2011 and fall 2012 Clearinghouse coverage rates.

For detailed statistics on enrollment coverage as well as several other aspects of Clearinghouse data, visit the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s “Working With Our Data” page.

Differences from IPEDS

National Student Clearinghouse data is nonadjudicated, administrative data that comes directly from college and university registrars. It differs from IPEDS survey data in a number of important ways:

  1. Fall term definition: Most institutions use an October 15 census date when counting fall enrollments for IPEDS, but institutions have some flexibility in determining whether a given term should be counted as a fall term. Institutions do not designate “fall” in their Clearinghouse data, however. Instead, they provide the start- and end-dates for each enrollment. For the purpose of this report, enrollments were counted if they met certain date criteria. In general, terms included in the Current Term Enrollment Estimates for fall are those that:
    • began between August 15 and October 31, inclusive OR
    • ended between September 15 and November 30, inclusive OR
    • began before August 15 AND ended after November 30.
  2. Degree-granting status: When referencing IPEDS enrollment counts, it is important to distinguish counts limited to degree-granting institutions from those that also include non-degree granting institutions. NCES publishes both of these counts in IPEDS First-Look Reports. The Clearinghouse counts in this report are limited to Title IV, degree-granting institutions.
  3. Enrollment status changes: Institutions submit data to the Clearinghouse throughout a given term, capturing changes in enrollment status from one submission to the next. The counts in this report include all students whose institution submitted at least one enrollment record showing the student as enrolled either full time, half time, or less than half time during the term. For IPEDS reporting, an institution generally counts a student according to the student’s enrollment status as of the institution’s IPEDS census date.
  4. International students: As the Clearinghouse continues to enhance its data collections to better support the needs of the education community, enrollment records for international students are starting to become more complete than in past years. Because this is a recent development, in order to ensure consistent year-to-year comparisons, international students have been excluded from this report. (In the most recent years for which IPEDS data are available, about 3.4 percent of the total IPEDS enrollment is accounted for by the nonresident alien category.)
Imputation of Gender

Institutions reported student gender to the Clearinghouse for about one-third of all students included in this report. The genders for the remaining students were imputed using a table of name-gender pairs that the Research Center developed using data publicly available from the Census Bureau and the Social Security Administration as well as the institution-reported data. The imputation used only those pairs in which the name had at least two instances and was associated with a single gender in at least 95 percent of the instances. The imputation is accurate in 99.6 percent of the cases with known gender. A detailed document on the development of our approach will be uploaded to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s “Working With Our Data” Web page in December 2012.


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