It’s the traditional beginning of the new school year, and here, courtesy of the National Center of Education Statistics, a department of the U.S. Education Department, are facts and figures about the return to the classroom.
The bottom line: America’s schools and colleges will welcome back record numbers of students.
Elementary and Secondary Education
In 2010-11, there were about 13,600 public school districts (source) with over 98,800 public schools, including about 5,300 charter schools (source). In 2011-12, there were about 30,900 private schools offering kindergarten or higher grades (source).
In fall 2013, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.3 million will be in prekindergarten through 8th grade and 14.8 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 5.2 million students are expected to attend private schools (source).
About 1.3 million children are expected to attend public prekindergarten this fall. Enrollment in public kindergarten is projected to reach approximately 3.8 million students (source).
This fall, about 4.1 million public school students are expected to enroll in 9th grade, the typical entry grade for many American high schools (source).
Public school systems will employ about 3.3 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers this fall, such that the number of pupils per FTE teacher — that is, the pupil/teacher ratio — will be 15.1. This ratio is lower than the 2000 ratio of 16.0. A projected 0.4 million FTE teachers will be working in private schools this fall, resulting in an estimated pupil/teacher ratio of 12.3, which is also lower than the 2000 ratio of 14.5 (source and source).
Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools are projected to be $591 billion for the 2013-14 school year. These expenditures include such items as salaries for school personnel, benefits, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs. The current expenditure per student is projected at $11,810 for this school year (source).
About 3.3 million students are expected to graduate from high school in 2013-14, including 3.0 million students from public high schools and 278,000 students from private high schools (source).
The percentage of high school dropouts among 16- through 24-year-olds declined from 12.1 percent in 1990 to 7.1 percent in 2011 (source and source). Reflecting the overall decline in the dropout rate between 1990 and 2011, the rates also declined for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics (source).
The percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall immediately following high school completion was 68.2 percent in 2011 (source). Females enrolled at a higher rate (72.2 percent) than males (64.7 percent) (source).
College and University Education
In fall 2013, a record 21.8 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities, constituting an increase of about 6.5 million since fall 2000 (source).
Females are expected to account for the majority of college students: about 12.5 million females will attend in fall 2013, compared with 9.3 million males. Also, more students are expected to attend full time than part time (an estimated 13.4 million, compared with about 8.3 million, respectively) (source).
Nearly 7.5 million students will attend public 2-year institutions (source), and 0.5 million will attend private 2-year colleges (source). Some 8.2 million students are expected to attend public 4-year institutions (source), and about 5.6 million will attend private 4-year institutions (source).
Increases in the traditional college-age population and rising enrollment rates have contributed to the increase in college enrollment. Between 2000 and 2011, the 18- to 24-year-old population rose from approximately 27.3 million to approximately 31.1 million (source). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college also was higher in 2011 (42.0 percent) than in 2000 (35.5 percent) (source). This fall, these traditional college-age students will be joined by around 8.7 million older students ages 25 and over. The number of older students increased between 2000 and 2011 (source).
Increasing numbers and percentages of black and Hispanic students are attending college. Between 2000 and 2011, the percentage of college students who were black rose from 11.7 to 15.1 percent, and the percentage of students who were Hispanic rose from 9.9 to 14.3 percent (source). Also, the percentage of black 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college increased from 30.5 percent in 2000 to 37.1 percent in 2011 and the percentage of Hispanics enrolled increased from 21.7 to 34.8 percent (source).
For the 2011-12 academic year, the average annual price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $14,292 at public institutions (including $5,500 for in-state tuition) and $33,047 at private nonprofit and for-profit institutions. In this year, the average annual price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $16,789 at public 4-year institutions, $37,906 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions, and $23,364 at private for-profit 4-year institutions. Charges for tuition and required fees averaged $7,701 at public 4-year colleges, $2,647 at public 2-year institutions, $27,686 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions, $14,193 at private nonprofit 2-year institutions, $13,819 at private for-profit 4-year institutions, and $13,834 at private for-profit 2-year institutions (source).
During the 2013-14 school year, colleges and universities are expected to award 943,000 associate’s degrees; 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees; 778,000 master’s degrees; and 177,000 doctor’s degrees (source, source, source, and source).
In 2011, about 71 percent of young adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the labor force had year-round, full-time jobs, compared with 65 percent of those with an associate’s degree, 59 percent each of those with some college education and of high school completers, and 48 percent of those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (source). In 2012, a smaller percentage of young adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher were unemployed than were their peers with lower levels of education (source).
In 2011, the median of earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was $45,000, while the median was $22,900 for those without a high school diploma or its equivalent, $30,000 for those with a high school diploma or its equivalent, and $37,000 for those with an associate’s degree. In other words, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned almost twice as much as those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (97 percent more), 50 percent more than young adult high school completers, and 21 percent more than young adults with an associate’s degree. Additionally, in 2011, the median of earnings for young adults with a master’s degree or higher was $59,200, some 32 percent more than the median for young adults with a bachelor’s degree (source).