Condition of Education (COE) 2019 Highlights

Thank you for joining me for a briefing
on the Condition of Education 2019. I’m Joel McFarland and I serve as the
project officer and lead author for this report. In this presentation, I will
discuss some of the new analyses and notable findings from this year’s report. The Condition of Education is a
congressionally mandated annual report that NCES releases each year by June 1st. The report is organized into roughly 50 indicators that summarize our latest
data on a wide variety of topics from early childhood through postsecondary education as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. I’ll start with a brief overview of the report’s spotlight indicators which
present new insights from recently released NCES datasets on outcomes in
postsecondary education. I’ll then discuss findings from the report’s core annual indicators which are updated on a yearly basis. These indicators draw on a range of data sources including NCES surveys and relevant information collected by other Federal Statistical agencies. Specifically, I’ll discuss trends in educational attainment and student loans. As I mentioned, the new analyses in this year’s report focus on postsecondary student outcomes. As an agency, we’re often asked how outcomes for young adults vary in relation to the
socioeconomic status of the family in which they were raised. This is an important question but it’s difficult to answer because it requires detailed data
that link parent or family characteristics to later outcomes in
postsecondary education or the labor force. NCES recently released data from
the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 which tracked a representative
group of first-time 9th graders in 2009 and surveyed them at various points as
they progressed through high school and postsecondary education. HSLS:09 collected data directly from parents and defined socioeconomic status using a combination of parental education, occupation, and income. The most recent data from HSLS:09 are from a 2016 follow-up survey, about three years after
most of the 2009 ninth graders completed high school. One of the most striking
findings is that the highest and lowest fifth of students by SES had very similar employment rates but the highest SES students were 50 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary education in 2016. The report goes into further detail on postsecondary enrollment rates and shows that there are significant differences between the lowest and
highest SES students in terms of the types of institutions they attend and
the degrees they pursue. The second analysis uses new data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDS. IPEDS is our largest postsecondary survey and it collects information directly from institutions of higher education. IPEDS formerly collected degree completion rates only
for first-time full-time undergraduate students. However, we know that these
first-time full-time or traditional students are only a part of the
undergraduate population. A new component of the IPEDS collection includes data
from non-traditional students such as those who enroll part-time, transfer
among institutions or leave postsecondary education temporarily and later return. The new survey component also includes improved information on transfer rates and provides separate data for Pell Grant recipients and nonrecipients. The expanded data on outcome measures are particularly important for two-year public institutions because they serve a larger population of nontraditional students. The data from this new survey component show, for example, that completion rates eight years after entry were highest for full-time
returning students. Small percentages of students were still enrolled after eight years and transfer rates were higher than
completion rates for part-time students. In addition, the survey shows the
percentage of students whose enrollment status eight years after entry was
unknown. Meaning that they either dropped out of school or transferred to another
institution without notifying the institution in which they first enrolled. The Condition of Education’s core
indicators include annual updates on a wide range of topics including
educational attainment levels. Overall, educational attainment rose between 2000 and 2018. For example, the percentage of 25 to 29-year-olds who had completed high school increased from 88 percent to 93 percent and the percentage with a
bachelor’s or higher degree increased from 29 percent to 37 percent. During that same period the gap in high school attainment rates narrowed between White 25 to 29-year-olds and their Black and Hispanic peers. In particular, the White-Hispanic gap narrowed due to very rapid increases in high school
attainment rates for Hispanic 25 to 29-year-olds. However, at the bachelor’s degree level, there was no measurable change in the
White-Hispanic gap and the White-Black gap increased from 16 percentage points in 2000 to 21 percentage points in 2018. The core indicators also examine recent data on loans for undergraduate students. For example, the percentage of first-time
full-time undergraduate students who were awarded student loans has declined
somewhat since 2010–11. Here you can see that decrease across two-year public and four-year public-private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. During this time period, the average loan amount awarded to those same students increased slightly at four-year public and private nonprofit institutions and decreased at four-year private for-profit and two-year public institutions In this presentation, I covered just a few of the topics in this year’s report. For more information, you can visit our website where you can browse through the
indicators or download the full report. The website will be updated on a rolling basis throughout the year as new data become available. Thank you for joining me for this briefing on the Condition of Education 2019.

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