Overview

In spring 2017, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.5 percent from the previous spring. 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 (-10.1 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.5 percent), and four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.2 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.2 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (two-year and four-year combined) declined by 0.9 percent this spring.

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 spring 2017, postsecondary institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 97 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 Fall to Spring, Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Figure 2 shows fall-to-spring percent changes in enrollments by institutional sector, for each of the last three years. In this figure, the fall-to-spring comparisons are limited to institutions that reported data to the Clearinghouse in both the fall and spring terms of an academic year. Typically, spring enrollments are lower than fall enrollments, but it is important to recognize that this is not an attrition rate for individual students. Rather, the drop represents the net effect of fall student attrition, graduation, and stopout, combined with new and returning spring student enrollments. The overall difference between fall and spring enrollment totals (all sectors) was unchanged in spring 2017, with enrollments 4.4 percent below the fall 2016 total.

 

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

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
Sector Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total
Enrollment, All Sectors

18,071,004

 -1.5%  18,343,655 -1.3% 18,592,605 -1.9%
Four-Year, Public

7,677,659

 0.2% 7,660,065 1.0% 7,586,223 0.9%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit

3,703,320

-0.2%  3,710,663 0.7% 3,685,554 -0.2%
Four-Year, For-Profit

993,169

 -10.1% 1,104,587 -9.3% 1,217,358 -4.9%
Two-Year, Public

5,399,145

-2.5%  5,537,822 -3.3% 5,729,111 -4.8%
Unduplicated Student Headcount (All Sectors)

17,740,912

-1.5%   18,003,354 -1.4%   18,267,143

-1.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 1 provides counts of spring term enrollments submitted to the Clearinghouse by April 11 of each year. Enrollments represent one student at one institution. Thus a student enrolled simultaneously at two institutions would be counted twice. 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 year. In each spring 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 report.

Table 2: Estimated Enrollment in Private Non-Profit Institutions by Size of Institution (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
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

1,079,145

-1.5%

1,096,002

1.8%

1,076,736 -2.4%
3,000 to 9,999

1,220,142

 -0.2%

1,222,584

 1.9%

1,199,442

-0.8%
10,000 or More

1,404,033

 0.9%

1,392,077

 -1.2%

1,409,376

2.1%

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)

Spring 2017 Spring 2016
Sector Program Level Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment
All Sectors (Incl. Two Year) Undergraduate

15,414,575

 -1.9% 15,714,998
Graduate/Professional

2,656,428

 1.1% 2,628,658
Four-Year, Public Undergraduate

6,414,068

 0.1% 6,405,713
Graduate/Professional

1,263,591

 0.7%  1,254,352
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Undergraduate

2,589,207

 -0.7% 2,608,703
Graduate/Professional

1,114,114

1.1% 1,101,961
Four-Year, For-Profit Undergraduate

715,414

 -13.1% 823,538
Graduate/Professional

277,755

 -1.2%  281,050

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 spring term, starting with spring 2016. The undergraduate category includes: undergraduate certificate/diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, 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 certificates, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, first-professional degrees, graduate/professional certificates, and special non-credential programs that have been specifically classified by institutions as graduate-level programs. Two-year institutions are not shown separately, because they do not award graduate/professional degrees and all of their students are counted here as undergraduate. However, these institutions are included in the total for all sectors.

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

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
Sector Enrollment Intensity Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Full-Time

11,061,293

 -2.0% 11,286,984 -1.4% 11,445,464 -2.0%
Part-Time

7,009,711

-0.7%  7,056,672  -1.3%  7,147,141 -1.7%
Four-Year, Public Full-Time

5,487,094

 0.2%  5,475,574  1.2%  5,410,076 0.3%
Part-Time

2,190,565

 0.3%  2,184,491  0.4%  2,176,147 2.4%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Full-Time

2,823,500

 -0.8% 2,846,046  1.2%  2,812,585 -0.3%
Part-Time

879,820

1.8%  864,618 -1.0% 872,969 0.0%
Four-Year, For-Profit Full-Time

627,791

-13.8%  728,708  -11.3%  821,941 -10.9%
Part-Time

365,378

 -2.8%  375,880 -4.9%  395,416 10.5%
Two-Year, Public Full-Time

1,948,578

 -5.1%  2,053,804  -6.0% 2,185,922 -6.5%
Part-Time

3,450,567

 -1.0%  3,484,018  -1.7%  3,543,189 -3.8%

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)

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
Sector Age Group Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors 24 and Under

11,515,268

 -0.2% 11,543,811 -0.1%  11,551,652 -0.8%
Over 24

6,555,735

-3.6%  6,799,845  -3.4%  7,040,953 -3.6%
Four-Year, Public 24 and Under

5,441,315

 1.1%  5,380,560  1.6%  5,296,021 1.3%
Over 24

2,236,344

 -1.9%  2,279,054  -0.5% 2,290,202 -0.1%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 24 and Under

2,210,165

 -0.2%  2,214,914  0.1% 2,212,500 -0.1%
Over 24

1,493,155

 -0.2%  1,495,750  1.5% 1,473,054  -0.4%
Four-Year, For-Profit 24 and Under

174,007

 -13.4%  200,970 -15.7%  238,300  -0.3%
Over 24

819,162

 -9.3%  903,617  -7.7%  979,058 -6.0%
Two-Year, Public 24 and Under

3,431,688

 -0.9%  3,464,454  -1.5%  3,517,260  -2.9%
Over 24

1,967,457

 -5.1%  2,073,367 -6.3%  2,211,851 -7.7%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 5 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 report.

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

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
Sector Gender Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
All Sectors Men

7,718,682

-2.1% 7,881,732 -1.2% 7,981,219  -2.1%
Women 10,352,322 -1.0% 10,461,923 -1.4% 10,611,385 -1.7%
Four-Year, Public Men

3,407,852

 -0.3% 3,418,713 0.9% 3,389,542 0.1%
Women

4,269,806

0.7% 4,241,352 1.1%  4,196,681 1.5%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit Men

1,517,108

-0.9% 1,531,114 0.2% 1,527,993 -0.8%
Women

2,186,213

0.3% 2,179,550 1.0% 2,157,561 0.2%
Four-Year, For-Profit Men

335,515

-16.5% 401,847 -9.0% 441,404 -4.2%
Women

657,654

-6.4% 702,740 -9.4% 775,954 -5.4%
Two-Year, Public Men

2,326,679

-2.6% 2,389,426 -3.2% 2,468,212 -4.5%
Women

3,072,466

-2.4% 3,148,395 -3.5% 3,260,899 -5.1%

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 6 provides counts of spring term enrollments by gender. Institutions reported student gender to the Clearinghouse for slightly more than half of all students. For all other students, gender was imputed based on first name. 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 report.

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

Spring 2017 Spring 2016 Spring 2015
State Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Multi-State Institutions

719,094

-15.0% 845,686 -14.4% 987,740 -10.5%
Alabama

271,131

1.4% 267,350 -1.3% 270,894 0.7%
Alaska

29,239

-5.8% 31,047 -1.8% 31,619 -1.9%
Arizona

413,453

2.8% 402,232 3.3% 389,213 1.7%
Arkansas

145,213

-3.6% 150,561 1.0% 149,094 -3.6%
California

2,382,402

-0.8% 2,400,525 0.7% 2,383,101 0.4%
Colorado

290,225

-2.1% 296,568 0.8% 294,214 -2.0%
Connecticut

183,116

-1.2% 185,418 -3.7% 192,626 3.0%
Delaware

52,610

0.0% 52,635 -3.9% 54,751 1.1%
District of Columbia

72,112

0.1% 72,017 1.1% 71,261 -1.3%
Florida

953,439

 -0.3% 956,679 -2.0% 975,969 -4.2%
Georgia

460,509

-0.3% 461,961 0.2% 461,134 1.3%
Hawaii

51,028

-4.8% 53,615 -4.2% 55,953 -1.9%
Idaho

96,258

2.7% 93,768 3.2% 90,885 -4.1%
Illinois

613,902

-2.9% 631,965 -4.4% 661,167 -3.8%
Indiana

337,564

-1.0% 341,037 -3.8% 354,596 -3.0%
Iowa

196,354

1.5% 193,452 -2.1% 197,518 -1.3%
Kansas

176,187

-0.3% 176,652 -1.5% 179,387 -1.7%
Kentucky

220,783

-0.7% 222,277 -1.8% 226,313 -5.3%
Louisiana

208,264

-3.1% 214,835 -0.3% 215,422 -2.7%
Maine

63,486

 -1.5% 64,461 -2.6% 66,191 -0.4%
Maryland

332,639

-1.6% 338,03 -2.1% 345,186

-1.5%

Massachusetts

434,696

-1.9% 442,930 0.7% 439,756 -3.0%
Michigan

509,139

 -3.7% 528,913 -4.2% 551,917  -3.5%
Minnesota

368,029

-2.1% 375,734 -0.8% 378,887 -3.2%
Mississippi

154,787

1.7% 152,147 -1.9% 155,114 -0.7%
Missouri

334,793

-3.7% 347,620 -2.5% 356,373 -5.0%
Montana

46,028

-1.5% 46,723 -2.8% 48,066 -3.3%
Nebraska

122,574

 -0.4% 123,126 -5.1% 129,780 1.2%
Nevada

102,622

 -0.8% 103,450 0.6% 102,876 -3.1%
New Hampshire

146,350

16.2% 125,940 11.6% 112,819 19.0%
New Jersey

362,379

-1.4% 367,621 -2.8% 378,278 -1.4%
New Mexico

113,495

-1.4% 115,113 -4.0% 119,917 -8.3%
New York

1,077,832

-1.8% 1,097,138 -1.2% 1,110,273 -1.2%
North Carolina

497,176

-0.9% 501,532 -1.6% 509,796 -1.2%
North Dakota

49,184

-1.8% 50,067 -0.6% 50,352 -0.6%
Ohio

585,627

 -0.5% 588,502 -2.5% 603,606 -2.1%
Oklahoma

175,746

 -1.5%  178,351 2.0% 174,880 -5.5%
Oregon

224,247

-3.5% 232,433 -2.0% 237,178 -7.2%
Pennsylvania

654,727

-1.9% 667,392 -2.9% 687,244 -1.6%
Rhode Island

67,275

-0.8% 67,821 0.4% 67,570 -0.7%
South Carolina

219,425

-2.1% 224,127 -1.5% 227,487 -1.3%
South Dakota

44,617

-1.0% 45,089 0.1% 45,057 2.0%
Tennessee

274,282

-0.5% 275,533 -3.3% 284,791 -1.6%
Texas

1,394,069

1.7% 1,370,177 2.0% 1,343,381 -1.6%
Utah

292,994

6.1% 276,165 8.5% 254,424 4.8%
Vermont

41,463

0.7% 41,157 2.1% 40,303 -0.4%
Virginia

480,073

-0.9% 484,558  -3.3% 500,953 -1.1%
Washington

328,305

1.8% 322,554 0.9% 319,659 -2.2%
West Virginia

145,612

-2.0%

148,574

-3.5% 153,966 -3.0%
Wisconsin

293,178

-3.3% 303,221 -4.1% 316,239 -1.3%
Wyoming

29,488

0.1% 29,465 0.8% 29,217 -2.6%

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

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

Spring 2017 Spring 2016
CIP Family Code CIP Family Title Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment
52 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support

1,593,921

-1.0% 1,609,786
24 Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (includes undeclared)

1,107,539

6.9% 1,035,953
51 Health Professions and Related Programs

1,095,661

-0.8% 1,104,125
26 Biological and Biomedical Sciences

570,451

1.8% 560,556
14 Engineering

567,200

3.1% 550,079
13 Education

456,222

-2.3% 466,954
45 Social Sciences

433,577

-1.4% 439,562
42 Psychology

431,683

-2.0% 440,434
11 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

404,566

1.1% 400,230
50 Visual and Performing Arts

379,404

-0.2% 380,238
09 Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs

326,627

-2.4% 334,762
43 Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services

287,836

-3.8% 299,288
30 Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

230,954

-4.4% 241,467
31 Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies

229,707

0.3% 229,063
40 Physical Sciences

144,743

-2.6% 148,534
23 English Language and Literature/Letters

145,825

-4.1% 152,037
44 Public Administration and Social Service Professions

143,762

-2.6% 147,593
15 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields

105,091

-14.6% 123,061
19 Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences

100,080

-6.2% 106,742
01 Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences

87,613

0.0% 87,634
27 Mathematics and Statistics

87,206

0.7% 86,628
54 History

85,012

 -3.8%  88,358
03 Natural Resources and Conservation

77,171

3.1% 74,863
16 Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

55,210

-6.7% 59,155
04 Architecture and Related Services

37,909

1.2% 37,443
38 Philosophy and Religious Studies

33,994

-5.5% 35,969
39 Theology and Religious Vocations

29,787

-4.4% 31,154
49 Transportation and Materials Moving

25,830

0.0% 25,825
05 Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies  24,480 -2.5% 25,118
22 Legal Professions and Studies  23,963 -7.9% 26,028
12 Personal and Culinary Services

21,701

-5.6% 22,984
10 Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services

18,204

4.9% 17,356
47 Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians

15,997

-6.0%

17,021
46 Construction Trades

9,683

26.4% 7,659
41 Science Technologies/Technicians

7,392

16.2% 6,359
48 Precision Production

5,919

4.5% 5,662

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 8 provides college enrollment totals disaggregated by Classification of Instructional Program Family codes. 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), 60 (Residency Programs).

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

Spring 2017

Spring 2016

CIP Family Code CIP Family Title

Enrollment

% Change from Prior Year

Enrollment

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

1,949,165

-2.1% 1,991,325
51 Health Professions and Related Programs

775,479

-2.1%  792,033
52 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support

574,864

-2.4%

588,787
11 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

201,377

3.9%

193,814
43 Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services

197,826

-9.0% 217,326
50 Visual and Performing Arts

141,774

-1.2% 143,427
30 Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

136,976

0.5% 136,246
15 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields

119,020

-4.8%  124,977
13 Education

112,030

-6.1%  119,341
47 Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians

103,758

-3.1% 107,024
19 Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences

91,882

-1.2%  92,964
26 Biological and Biomedical Sciences

88,161

8.5%  81,227
14 Engineering

83,691

2.3%  81,772
42 Psychology

76,870

5.9%  72,574
45 Social Sciences

76,310

2.7%  74,328
12 Personal and Culinary Services

58,162

-6.3%  62,081
48 Precision Production

56,465

-2.0% 57,599
46 Construction Trades

50,055

-7.5% 54,132
09 Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs

46,223

1.7% 45,444
31 Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies

45,916

3.9%  44,194
40 Physical Sciences

37,544

1.8%  36,869
44

Public Administration and Social Service Professions

37,280

-8.9%  40,934
01 Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences

31,811

-1.7%  32,358
23 English Language and Literature/Letters

30,959

1.1%  30,616
10 Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services

28,215

0.5%  28,076
22 Legal Professions and Studies

26,154

-7.9%  28,390
27 Mathematics and Statistics

20,373

3.1%  19,764
16 Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

17,816

6.4%  16,739
41 Science Technologies/Technicians

13,127

0.4%  13,069
32 Basic Skills and Developmental/Remedial Education

11,818

 5.4%  11,211
54 History

10,793

5.5%  10,227
49 Transportation and Materials Moving

9,896

-16.0%

11,778

03 Natural Resources and Conservation 9,431 -1.1%  9,541
04 Architecture and Related Services

6,447

3.4% 6,237

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS

Table 9 provides college enrollment totals disaggregated by Classification of Instructional Program Family codes. 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), 60 (Residency Programs).

Notes on the Data

National Coverage of the Data

As of spring 2017, institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 97 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 2016 IPEDS enrollments at the time of publication, fall 2015 IPEDS enrollments were used as the basis for calculating the spring 2017 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: IPEDS does not conduct a spring enrollment survey, so there are no comparable IPEDS numbers for the spring. For Clearinghouse reporting, institutions provide the start- and end-dates for each enrollment, rather than formally designating fall or spring terms.

    Spring Terms included in the Current Term Enrollment Estimates are those that:
    a) began between January 15 and March 31, inclusive OR
    b) ended between February 15 and April 30, inclusive OR
    c) began before January 15 AND ended after April 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, 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: International students are not included in this report. Clearinghouse enrollment records for international students continue to grow steadily as more institutions opt in to providing this data component. In order to ensure consistent year-to-year comparisons, however, we will continue to exclude international students from this report until the data coverage rate reaches a stable level. (According to the most recent IPEDS data, about five percent of the total enrollment in U.S. degree-granting institutions is accounted for by the nonresident alien category.)

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.