Technical Update

The Fall 2014 Current Term Enrollment Estimates were originally released on December 10, 2014. As noted in that report, a number of institutions (sixteen) had recently been reclassified from two-year to four-year by the Department of Education’s IPEDS system. These reclassifications had an important effect on the Current Term Enrollment Estimates, increasing total enrollment counts for the four-year public sector, while simultaneously decreasing enrollment counts for the two-year public sector. However, this effect was exaggerated in the original Clearinghouse report, which placed all of the reclassifications in Fall 2014, when they more accurately would have been distributed across four years. The NSCRC has revised the public sector figures in this report, so that the timing of the reclassifications reflects the timing with which these institutions were reclassified in IPEDS. This means that the enrollments in 2-year public and 4-year public sectors for each of the terms Fall 2011 through Fall 2013 have been restated. There is no change to the numbers in the “all sectors” category, nor in the “4-year private nonprofit” or “4-year private for-profit” categories, and the total numbers of students in the public sector have not changed. Only the allocation of public sector students to 2-year vs. 4-year institutions has shifted.

Overview

In fall 2014, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.3 percent from the previous fall. Figure 1 shows the12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. In fall 2014, enrollments decreased among two-year public institutions (-3.5 percent) and four-year for-profit institutions (-0.4 percent). Enrollments were unchanged among four-year public institutions (0.0 percent), and increased among four-year private non-profit institutions (+1.6 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (2-year and 4-year combined) declined by 1.5 percent this fall.

Current Term Enrollment Estimates, published every December and May by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, include national enrollment estimates by institutional sector, state, enrollment intensity, age group, and gender. Enrollment estimates are adjusted for Clearinghouse data coverage rates by institutional sector, state, and year. As of fall 2014, postsecondary institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 96 percent of enrollments at U.S. Title IV, degree-granting institutions. Most institutions submit enrollment data to the Clearinghouse several times per term, resulting in highly current data. Moreover, since the Clearinghouse collects data at the student level, it is possible to report an unduplicated headcount, which avoids double-counting students who are simultaneously enrolled at multiple institutions.

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

Figure 1: Percent Change from Previous Year, Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)
Figure 1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years.

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

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total Enrollment, All Sectors 19,619,773 -1.3% 19,885,203 -1.5% 20,195,924 -1.8%
Four-Year, Public 7,965,176 0.0% 7,964,090 0.4% 7,931,702 -0.2%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 3,823,465 1.6% 3,761,953 1.3% 3,714,967 0.5%
Four-Year, For-Profit 1,315,167 -0.4% 1,321,107 -9.7% 1,463,097 -7.2%
Two-Year, Public 6,107,337 -3.5% 6,329,631 -3.3% 6,544,820 -3.6%
Unduplicated Student Headcount (all sectors) 19,258,730 -1.3% 19,511,518 -1.4% 19,791,149 -1.7%

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 term, about 2.0 percent of total enrollments can be accounted for by students enrolling in more than one institution.

Institutional classifications for the current term are based on the most recently available IPEDS institutional characteristics at the time of publication. Less-than-two-year institutions have been aggregated with two-year institutions. 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 Enrollment in Private Non-Profit Institutions by Size of Institution (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Institution Size Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Under 3,000 1,133,573 0.7% 1,125,754 -0.7% 1,133,381 0.0%
3,000 to 9,999 1,240,482 1.2% 1,225,488 0.9% 1,214,588 -1.0%
10,000 or more 1,449,409 2.7% 1,410,711 3.2% 1,366,998 2.3%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 2 provides a deeper look at the enrollment counts for private non-profit institutions, by institution size. The size of institution is based on the most recently available IPEDS fall enrollment totals. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.

Table 3: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Intensity Level (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Enrollment Intensity Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Full-Time 12,304,457 -1.4% 12,477,913 -1.7% 12,694,838 -2.1%
Part-Time 7,315,315 -1.2% 7,407,290 -1.3% 7,501,086 -1.2%
Four-Year, Public Full-Time 5,791,510 -0.8% 5,840,116 0.6% 5,804,314 0.2%
Part-Time 2,173,666 2.3% 2,123,974 -0.2% 2,127,388 -1.3%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Full-Time 2,944,226 1.5% 2,900,544 0.7% 2,879,052 0.3%
Part-Time 879,239 2.1% 861,410 3.0% 835,915 1.0%
Four-Year, For-Profit Full-Time 894,643 -4.9% 940,796
Part-Time 420,525 10.6% 380,311
Two-Year, Public Full-Time 2,435,357 -4.8% 2,556,904 -3.1% 2,637,649 -6.2%
Part-Time 3,671,980 -2.7% 3,772,727 -3.4% 3,907,172 -1.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 3 provides enrollment counts by the enrollment intensity of the student. The part-time category includes enrollments reported to the Clearinghouse as three-quarter time, half-time, and less-than-half-time. 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.

Two large for-profit institutions began participating with the Clearinghouse in spring 2013, altering the ratio of full-time to part-time students. As a result, comparisons to prior years are not meaningful. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.

Table 4: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Age Group (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Age Group Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors 24 and Under 12,425,257 -0.5% 12,483,914 -0.4% 12,537,423 -0.7%
Over 24 7,194,515 -2.8% 7,401,289 -3.4% 7,658,501 -3.4%
Four-Year, Public 24 and Under 5,673,406 0.9% 5,623,696 1.5% 5,542,044 0.5%
Over 24 2,291,770 -2.1% 2,340,394 -2.1% 2,389,657 -1.9%
Four-Year, Private NonProfit 24 and Under 2,349,735 1.6% 2,312,383 0.7% 2,297,446 0.8%
Over 24 1,473,730 1.7% 1,449,570 2.3% 1,417,521 -0.1%
Four-Year, For-Profit 24 and Under 253,119 2.8% 246,339 -14.7% 288,929 -8.3%
Over 24 1,062,048 -1.2% 1,074,768 -8.5% 1,174,168 -7.0%
Two-Year, Public 24 and Under 3,821,236 -1.5% 3,878,137 -1.3% 3,930,983 -2.1%
Over 24 2,286,101 -6.7% 2,451,494 -6.2% 2,613,837 -5.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 4 provides enrollment counts 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 5: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Gender (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Gender Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Men 8,418,385 -1.4% 8,540,032 -1.1% 8,637,456 -1.4%
Women 11,201,388 -1.3% 11,345,170 -1.8% 11,558,468 -2.0%
Four-Year, Public Men 3,573,294 -0.3% 3,583,885 0.6% 3,562,028 0.0%
Women 4,391,882 0.3% 4,380,205 0.2% 4,369,674 -0.5%
Four-Year, Private NonProfit Men 1,588,508 1.2% 1,569,224 1.1% 1,551,429 0.8%
Women 2,234,957 1.9% 2,192,729 1.3% 2,163,538 0.2%
Four-Year, For-Profit Men 473,631 6.5% 444,861 -11.9% 504,718 -9.2%
Women 841,537 -4.0% 876,245 -8.6% 958,379 -6.2%
Two-Year, Public Men 2,616,134 -3.7% 2,717,633 -2.0% 2,774,451 -2.9%
Women 3,491,203 -3.3% 3,611,998 -4.2% 3,770,369 -4.1%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 5 provides enrollment counts by gender. Institutions reported student gender to the Clearinghouse for about one-half of all students. Gender was imputed based on first name for all other students. 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, coverage, and imputation of gender are included at the end of this document.

Table 6: Estimated Enrollment by State of Institution (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
State Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Multi-State Institutions 947,103 -7.8% 1,027,370 -6.7% 1,100,891 -12.9%
Alabama 289,072 0.9% 286,410 -2.0% 292,289 -0.9%
Alaska 32,616 0.0% 32,623 -4.4% 34,119 -3.8%
Arizona 418,420 5.2% 397,718 -5.9% 422,565 -1.2%
Arkansas 167,091 0.0% 167,154 0.1% 167,044 -6.5%
California 2,497,958 -0.7% 2,516,524 0.4% 2,505,735 -2.1%
Colorado 301,620 -1.7% 306,967 -0.1% 307,141 -4.2%
Connecticut 196,813 0.9% 194,994 -0.9% 196,856 1.8%
Delaware 58,112 0.5% 57,848 1.2% 57,153 1.9%
District of Columbia 73,692 -1.6% 74,912 -2.5% 76,832 -1.1%
Florida 1,055,129 -0.1% 1,055,846 -0.2% 1,057,879 -1.8%
Georgia 477,956 -5.1% 503,452 -1.6% 511,712 -2.7%
Hawaii 61,191 -1.7% 62,253 -4.7% 65,320 -0.5%
Idaho 97,393 -3.0% 100,371 1.1% 99,283 2.7%
Illinois 688,574 -3.6% 714,308 -2.9% 735,415 -3.0%
Indiana 371,626 -3.9% 386,892 -0.9% 390,527 -3.1%
Iowa 276,062 -5.4% 291,765 -9.5% 322,291 -1.7%
Kansas 207,291 3.5% 200,219 -1.4% 203,089 -0.3%
Kentucky 253,863 -1.6% 258,098 -3.3% 266,977 -3.9%
Louisiana 230,144 -0.8% 231,959 -7.4% 250,465 -4.2%
Maine 68,699 -1.0% 69,383 -1.7% 70,608 0.8%
Maryland 359,131 -3.0% 370,114 -3.1% 381,836 -1.5%
Massachusetts 462,368 -1.2% 467,884 -0.5% 470,457 -1.5%
Michigan 584,872 -2.7% 600,947 -3.7% 624,127 -1.5%
Minnesota 390,678 -1.7% 397,330 -2.5% 407,652 -3.1%
Mississippi 169,348 0.6% 168,276 -3.3% 174,029 -3.5%
Missouri 381,167 -4.6% 399,669 -1.6% 406,028 -1.3%
Montana 51,170 -5.5% 54,162 -0.4% 54,377 -2.8%
Nebraska 130,652 -4.0% 136,118 0.0% 136,124 -4.1%
Nevada 114,788 2.2% 112,285 1.1% 111,109 -1.4%
New Hampshire 112,196 19.9% 93,599 12.9% 82,867 6.1%
New Jersey 402,976 -2.5% 413,510 -0.8% 416,976 -1.0%
New Mexico 135,600 -3.5% 140,512 -0.7% 141,432 -1.9%
New York 1,156,068 -1.9% 1,177,997 0.2% 1,176,092 -1.3%
North Carolina 538,249 -0.9% 543,182 -1.0% 548,549 -1.2%
North Dakota 52,639 -3.8% 54,731 -1.7% 55,661 -1.2%
Ohio 629,970 -3.4% 652,248 -1.5% 662,373 -4.0%
Oklahoma 197,138 -2.7% 202,671 -1.5% 205,719 -2.6%
Oregon 229,967 -4.5% 240,920 -3.1% 248,624 -1.9%
Pennsylvania 721,095 -2.0% 735,709 -2.1% 751,367 -0.5%
Rhode Island 71,462 -1.1% 72,284 1.9% 70,913 -2.5%
South Carolina 242,071 -1.2% 245,117 -0.8% 247,059 0.4%
South Dakota 47,133 -1.0% 47,590 -0.4% 47,798 5.3%
Tennessee 308,792 -1.8% 314,571 -1.9% 320,783 -0.1%
Texas 1,442,610 0.2% 1,439,253 0.5% 1,431,875 0.1%
Utah 261,810 0.4% 260,802 -1.2% 263,909 3.6%
Vermont 41,127 -0.6% 41,396 -1.6% 42,068 -2.6%
Virginia 524,800 0.0% 524,792 -0.5% 527,395 -0.3%
Washington 321,722 -3.5% 333,247 -0.5% 334,756 -2.5%
West Virginia 166,809 -0.2% 167,194 7.8% 155,163 -8.5%
Wisconsin 335,665 -1.6% 341,140 -1.0% 344,586 -1.8%
Wyoming 30,018 -4.7% 31,506 -3.9% 32,783 0.2%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 6 provides enrollment counts by the state where the institution is located. Institutions that span multiple states have been included in a separate line called “multi-state institutions.” Enrollments for these institutions are not included in any of the other state-level 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 2014, institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 96 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 and state 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 and state were calculated using the inverse of the rate of enrollment coverage for that sector or state in the relevant year. Given the unavailability of fall 2014 IPEDS enrollments at the time of publication, fall 2013 IPEDS enrollments were used as the basis for calculating the fall 2013 and fall 2014 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 are nonadjudicated, administrative data that come directly from college and university registrars. The data differ from IPEDS survey data in a number of important ways:

  1. 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. For Clearinghouse reporting, institutions provide the start- and end-dates for each enrollment, rather than formally designating fall or spring terms. Fall terms included in the Current Term Enrollment Estimates 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 enrolled as 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, slightly less than four 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-half 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 where gender was reported by institutions. A detailed document describing this approach resides on the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s “Working With Our Data” Web page.