Overview

In fall 2016, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.4 percent from the previous fall. Figure 1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-14.5 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.6 percent), and four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.6 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.2 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollment (2-year and 4-year combined) declined by 1.0 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 2016, postsecondary institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for over 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)

Fall 2016

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 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Sector Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total
Enrollment, All Sectors
19,010,459 -1.4% 19,280,473 -1.7% 19,619,773 -1.3%
Four-Year, Public 8,100,118 0.2% 8,086,448 0.8% 8,020,444 0.7%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 3,788,980 -0.6% 3,811,176 -0.3% 3,823,465 1.6%
Four-Year, For-Profit

970,267

-14.5%

1,134,974

-13.7%

1,315,167

-0.4%

Two-Year, Public

5,721,676

-2.6%

5,875,163

-2.9%

6,052,069

-4.4%

Unduplicated Student Headcount (All Sectors)

18,663,617

-1.4%

18,929,736

-1.7%

19,258,730

-1.3%

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 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. 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 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
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

1,120,725

-1.1%

1,132,628

-0.1%

1,133,573

0.7%

3,000 to 9,999

1,228,198

-0.6%

1,235,128

-0.4%

1,240,482

1.2%

10,000 or More

1,440,058

-0.2%

1,443,421

-0.4%

1,449,409

2.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 2 provides a deeper look at the enrollment counts for private nonprofit 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 report.

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

Fall 2016 Fall 2015
Sector Program Level Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment
All Sectors Undergraduate 16,297,766 -1.9% 16,607,735
Graduate/Professional 2,712,693 1.5% 2,672,738
Four-Year, Public Undergraduate 6,789,507

-0.3%

6,809,676

Graduate/Professional 1,310,611

2.7%

1,276,772

Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Undergraduate 2,676,080 -1.1% 2,705,471
Graduate/Professional 1,112,900 0.7% 1,105,705
Four-Year, For-Profit Undergraduate 706,769 -17.0% 851,464
Graduate/Professional 263,498 -7.1% 283,509

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 3 provides enrollment counts by program level. Beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, institutions began submitting additional data elements to the Clearinghouse to satisfy new reporting requirements for the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This makes it possible to measure undergraduate and graduate enrollments separately for the current term, starting with fall 2015.The undergraduate category includes: undergraduate certificate/diploma, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, teacher preparation programs, special non-credential programs that have been classified by institutions as undergraduate programs, and enrollments that are not part of any structured program. The graduate/professional category includes: post-baccalaureate certificate, master’s degree, doctoral degree, first-professional degree, graduate/professional certificate, and special non-credential programs that have been specifically classified by institutions as graduate-level programs.

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

Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Sector Enrollment Intensity Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Full-Time 11,937,405 -1.5% 12,116,449 -1.5% 12,304,457 -1.4%
Part-Time 7,073,054 -1.3% 7,164,024 -2.1% 7,315,315 -1.2%
Four-Year, Public Full-Time 5,905,189

0.2%

5,892,632

1.0%

5,831,695

-0.1%

Part-Time 2,194,929

0.1%

2,193,816

0.2%

2,188,749 3.0%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Full-Time 2,944,470 -0.5% 2,959,473 0.5% 2,944,226 1.5%
Part-Time 844,510 -0.8% 851,703 -3.1% 879,239 2.1%
Four-Year, For-Profit Full-Time 621,363 -17.5% 753,549 -15.8% 894,643 -4.9%
Part-Time 348,904 -8.5% 381,425 -9.3% 420,525 10.6%
Two-Year, Public Full-Time 2,197,659

-3.5%

2,278,440

-5.6%

2,413,319 -5.6%
Part-Time 3,524,016 -2.0%

3,596,723

-1.2%

3,638,751 -3.6%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 4 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. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this report.

Table 5: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Age Group (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Sector Age Group Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors 24 and Under 12,379,773 -0.1% 12,393,792 -0.3% 12,425,257 -0.5%
Over 24 6,630,686 -3.7% 6,886,680 -4.3% 7,194,515 -2.8%
Four-Year, Public 24 and Under 5,838,405

0.9%

5,784,813

1.3%

5,712,772 1.6%
Over 24 2,261,713 -1.7%

2,301,635

-0.3% 2,307,672 -1.4%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 24 and Under 2,328,155 -0.8% 2,346,861 -0.1% 2,349,735 1.6%
Over 24 1,460,825 -0.2% 1,464,314 -0.6% 1,473,730 1.7%
Four-Year, For-Profit 24 and Under 176,460 -20.2% 221,221 -12.6% 253,119 2.8%
Over 24 793,807 -13.1% 913,753 -14.0% 1,062,048 -1.2%
Two-Year, Public 24 and Under 3,713,114 -1.0%

3,749,722

-1.0% 3,786,656 -2.4%
Over 24 2,008,562 -5.5%

2,125,440

-6.2% 2,265,413 -7.6%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 5 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 6: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector and Gender (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Sector Gender Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Men 8,143,148 -1.9% 8,298,399 -1.4% 8,418,385 -1.4%
Women 10,867,311 -1.0% 10,982,073 -2.0% 11,201,388 -1.3%
Four-Year, Public Men 3,608,891 -0.2%

3,616,225

0.5%

3,598,088

0.4%
Women 4,491,227 0.5%

4,470,223

1.1%

4,422,356

1.0%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Men 1,556,743 -1.2% 1,574,940 -0.9% 1,588,508 1.2%
Women 2,232,238 -0.2% 2,236,235 0.1% 2,234,957 1.9%
Four-Year, For-Profit Men 327,765 -21.0% 414,849 -12.4% 473,631 6.5%
Women 642,501 -10.8% 720,125 -14.4% 841,537 -4.0%
Two-Year, Public Men 2,468,684 -3.1%

2,547,488

-1.7% 2,592,460 -4.6%
Women 3,252,991 -2.2%

3,327,675

-3.8% 3,459,610 -4.2%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 6 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 7: Estimated Enrollment by State of Institution (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
State Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Multi-State Institutions 709,643 -15.2% 836,852 -18.4% 1,026,122 -7.3%
Alabama 287,404 0.3% 286,442 -0.9%  289,072 0.9%
Alaska 30,885 -6.2% 32,935 1.0%  32,616 0.0%
Arizona 436,400 1.3% 430,745 2.9%  418,420 5.2%
Arkansas 160,851 -1.4% 163,060 -2.4%  167,091 0.0%
California 2,504,626 -0.1% 2,507,463 0.4%  2,497,958 -0.7%
Colorado 292,738 -3.6% 303,777 0.7%  301,620 -1.7%
Connecticut 189,290 -3.3% 195,750 -0.5%  196,813 0.9%
Delaware 56,629 -0.7% 57,025 -1.9%  58,112 0.5%
District of Columbia 74,914 0.2% 74,756 1.4%  73,692 -1.6%
Florida 1,026,229 1.7% 1,009,240 -4.3%  1,055,129 -0.1%
Georgia 487,929 2.2% 477,322 -0.1%  477,956 -5.1%
Hawaii 54,872 -6.2% 58,502 -4.4%  61,191 -1.7%
Idaho 99,283 2.5% 96,886 -0.5%  97,393 -3.0%
Illinois 634,719 -3.9% 660,808 -4.0%  688,574 -3.6%
Indiana 355,264 -2.0% 362,456 -2.5%  371,626 -3.9%
Iowa 201,644 -1.4% 204,498 -1.6% 207,787 -2.2%
Kansas 190,521 -1.2% 192,907 -1.7% 196,163 -2.0%
Kentucky 240,259 -1.1% 242,831 -4.3%  253,863 -1.6%
Louisiana 223,719 -3.4% 231,654 0.7%  230,144 -0.8%
Maine 66,599 -2.5% 68,282 -0.6%  68,699 -1.0%
Maryland 347,279 -2.9% 357,723 -0.4%  359,131 -3.0%
Massachusetts 444,702 -2.9% 458,146 -0.9%  462,368 -1.2%
Michigan 536,389 -4.6% 562,230 -3.9%  584,872 -2.7%
Minnesota 375,066 -2.5% 384,622 -1.6%  390,678 -1.7%
Mississippi 167,922 0.0% 167,936 -0.8%  169,348 0.6%
Missouri 361,320 -2.4% 370,044 -2.9%  381,167 -4.6%
Montana 48,497 -0.9% 48,941 -4.4%  51,170 -5.5%
Nebraska 128,656 -3.5% 133,361 2.1%  130,652 -4.0%
Nevada 108,515 -3.2% 112,051 -2.4%  114,788 2.2%
New Hampshire 145,966 17.2% 124,553 11.0%  112,196 19.9%
New Jersey 385,842 -1.5% 391,636 -2.8%  402,976 -2.5%
New Mexico* 120,930 -2.0% 123,455 -6.3% 131,695 -6.3%
New York 1,120,904 -2.7% 1,151,599 -0.4%  1,156,068 -1.9%
North Carolina 523,726 0.3% 521,944 -3.0%  538,249 -0.9%
North Dakota 52,732 -0.4% 52,950 0.6%  52,639 -3.8%
Ohio 609,591 -1.3% 617,835 -1.9%  629,970 -3.4%
Oklahoma 192,190 0.1% 192,053 -2.6%  197,138 -2.7%
Oregon 215,087 -3.6% 223,077 -3.0%  229,967 -4.5%
Pennsylvania 688,220 -2.6% 706,610 -2.0%  721,095 -2.0%
Rhode Island 69,743 -1.4% 70,746 -1.0%  71,462 -1.1%
South Carolina 236,558 -1.5% 240,176 -0.8%  242,071 -1.2%
South Dakota 47,350 -0.6% 47,631 1.1%  47,133 -1.0%
Tennessee 299,619 -2.5% 307,253 -0.5%  308,792 -1.8%
Texas 1,455,418 -0.8% 1,466,794 1.7%  1,442,610 0.2%
Utah 305,137 7.2% 284,639 8.7%  261,810 0.4%
Vermont 41,571 1.3% 41,040 -0.2%  41,127 -0.6%
Virginia 499,313 -3.0% 514,926 -1.9%  524,800 0.0%
Washington 316,529 -1.7% 322,065 0.1%  321,722 -3.5%
West Virginia 149,335 -5.7% 158,289 -5.1%  166,809 -0.2%
Wisconsin 314,199 -4.0% 327,321 -2.5%  335,665 -1.6%
Wyoming 30,837 1.2% 30,470 1.5%  30,018 -4.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 7 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.

*In New Mexico, a portion of the fall 2015 decline was due to a system of institutions that is no longer reporting dual-enrolled high school students to the Clearinghouse. Additional notes on data and coverage are included at the end of this document.

Table 8: Estimated Undergraduate Enrollment at Four-Year Institutions by Classification of Instructional Program Family

Fall 2016 Fall 2015
CIP Family Code CIP Family Title Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment
52 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support 1,639,373 -1.2% 1,659,647
24 Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (includes undeclared) 1,289,296 4.7% 1,231,558
51 Health Professions and Related Programs 1,142,636 -0.6% 1,149,576
26 Biological and Biomedical Sciences 601,572 1.6% 592,175
14 Engineering 601,119 4.0% 578,127
13 Education 481,740 -3.2% 497,775
42 Psychology 438,391 -3.2% 452,941
45 Social Sciences 427,572 -1.5% 434,159
11 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 406,889 -0.2% 407,834
50 Visual and Performing Arts 394,347 -3.9% 410,464
09 Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 325,973 -2.9% 335,815
43 Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services 300,666 -6.0% 319,872
30 Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 245,247 -3.0%  252,876
31 Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies 234,763 -0.6% 236,219
40 Physical Sciences 153,082 -1.6%  155,605
23 English Language and Literature/Letters 146,898 -3.9% 152,822
44 Public Administration and Social Service Professions 144,546 -0.8% 145,750
15 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields 108,420 -14.5% 126,768
19 Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences 100,552 -7.0% 108,103
01 Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences 93,442 1.2% 92,358
27 Mathematics and Statistics 87,164 1.4% 85,958
54 History 85,302 -3.3%  88,243
03 Natural Resources and Conservation 77,542 2.5% 75,647
16 Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 54,919 -6.1% 58,503
04 Architecture and Related Services 39,253 4.1% 37,725
38 Philosophy and Religious Studies 33,056 -5.6%  35,017
39 Theology and Religious Vocations 30,335 -4.8% 31,858
49 Transportation and Materials Moving 26,571 -2.6% 27,279
22 Legal Professions and Studies 24,793 -10.9% 27,824
12 Personal and Culinary Services 23,651 -17.8% 28,774
05 Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies 23,083 -2.7% 23,729
10 Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services 18,296 -8.2% 19,930
47 Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 17,226 -8.4% 18,810
46 Construction Trades 7,418 -0.6% 7,465
41 Science Technologies/Technicians 7,316 15.9%  6,310
48 Precision Production 5,663 -1.6%

5,755

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 8 provides college enrollment totals disaggregated by Classification of Instructional Program Family codes. CIP codes are provided with 95 percent of the enrollments reported to the Clearinghouse. The other 5 percent are considered by institutions to be non-program enrollments, and therefore have no CIP code. The table excludes the following CIP family codes, each of which had total enrollments of less than 5,000: 25 (Library Science), 28 (Military Science, Leadership, and Operational Art), 29 (Military Technologies and Applied Sciences), 32 (Basic Skills and Developmental/Remedial Education), 33 (Citizenship Activities), 34 (Health-Related Knowledge and Skills), 35 (Interpersonal and Social Skills), 36 (Leisure and Recreational Activities), 37 (Personal Awareness and Self-Improvement), 53 (High School/Secondary Diplomas and Certificates), and 60 (Residency Programs). For more information about the Classification of Instructional Family Codes, visit the NCES CIP user website: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/browse.aspx?y=55

Table 9: Estimated Undergraduate Enrollment at Two-Year Institutions by Classification of Instructional Program Family

Fall 2016

Fall 2015

CIP Family Code CIP Family Title

Enrollment

% Change from Prior Year

Enrollment

24 Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (includes undeclared)

2,015,473

-5.1%

2,122,751

51 Health Professions and Related Programs

827,811

-1.2%

838,236

52 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support

608,435

-0.4%

 610,584

43 Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services

211,803

-7.6%

229,240

11 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

208,500

4.3%

199,918

50 Visual and Performing Arts

148,664

1.8%

146,064

30 Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

145,543

7.7%

135,166

15 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields

125,874

-5.3%

132,980

13 Education

121,135

-5.0%

 127,489

47 Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians

109,932

-2.5%

112,802

19 Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences

96,005

0.7%

95,317

26 Biological and Biomedical Sciences

88,109

8.0%

81,577

14 Engineering

86,996

4.1%

83,547

42 Psychology

77,842

8.2%

71,962

45 Social Sciences

77,307

3.6%

74,649

12 Personal and Culinary Services

63,765

-4.2%

66,539

48 Precision Production

59,033

-1.6%

59,969

46 Construction Trades

53,034

4.0%

 50,976

31 Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies

48,200

7.7%

 44,743

09 Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs

47,709

7.7%

 44,296

44

Public Administration and Social Service Professions

39,630

-5.6%

  41,966

40 Physical Sciences

37,469

-2.8%

  38,534

23 English Language and Literature/Letters

32,395

4.0%

31,154

01 Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences

32,177

-1.8%

 32,771

10 Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services

29,625

5.8%

 28,011

22 Legal Professions and Studies

27,741

-8.7%

 30,379

27 Mathematics and Statistics

20,661

8.3%

 19,085

16 Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

18,294

7.6%

 16,999

41 Science Technologies/Technicians

13,717

-1.3%

 13,896

32 Basic Skills and Developmental/Remedial Education

12,759

4.7%

 12,186

54 History

10,697

9.6%

9,758

03 Natural Resources and Conservation

10,051

2.7%

 9,790

49 Transportation and Materials Moving

9,174

-14.8%

 10,769

04 Architecture and Related Services

6,595

9.4%

 6,026

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 9 provides college enrollment totals disaggregated by Classification of Instructional Program Family codes. CIP codes are provided with 95 percent of the enrollments reported to the Clearinghouse. The other 5 percent are considered by institutions to be non-program enrollments, and therefore have no CIP code. The table excludes the following CIP family codes, each of which had total enrollments of less than 5,000: 05 (Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies), 25 (Library Science), 28 (Military Science, Leadership, and Operational Art), 29 (Military Technologies and Applied Sciences), 33 (Citizenship Activities), 34 (Health-Related Knowledge and Skills), 35 (Interpersonal and Social Skills), 36 (Leisure and Recreational Activities), 37 (Personal Awareness and Self-Improvement), 38 (Philosophy and Religious Studies), 39 (Theology and Religious Vocations), 53 (High School/Secondary Diplomas and Certificates), and 60 (Residency Programs). For more information about the Classification of Instructional Family Codes, visit the NCES CIP user website: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/browse.aspx?y=55

Notes on the Data

National Coverage of the Data

As of fall 2016, institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for over 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 2015 IPEDS enrollments at the time of publication, fall 2014 IPEDS enrollments were used as the basis for calculating the fall 2015 and fall 2016 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:
    a) began between August 15 and October 31, inclusive OR
    b) ended between September 15 and November 30, inclusive OR
    c) 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, three-quarters 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 year for which IPEDS data are available (Fall 2014), 4.5 percent of the total IPEDS enrollment is accounted for by the nonresident alien category.

Level of Institution

Note that the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has revised the fall 2015 public sector figures in this report from those published in December 2015 to reflect the fact that some two-year public institutions have since been reclassified in IPEDS as four-year public institutions. This means that enrollment figures for the two-year public and four-year public sectors for the fall 2015 term have been restated. There is no change to the numbers in the “all sectors” category, nor in the private sector categories, and the total numbers of students in the public sector has not changed. Only the allocation of public sector students to two-year vs. four-year institutions has shifted.

Imputation of Gender

Institutions reported student gender to the Clearinghouse for slightly less than half of all students included in this report. The genders of 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 resides on the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s “Working With Our Data” Web page.