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Here are seventeen statistical highlights from a recent US Department of Education
report, "Getting Ready for College: A Report for National College Week.” Some are just
interesting; others (like #1 and #3) could be used as incentives for students to persevere.
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1. In 1999, 25- to 34-year-olds who dropped out of high school earned an average yearly income
of less than $18,000. High school graduates earned an average of about $25,000. College
graduates with a bachelor’s or higher degree earned an average of $40,000.
2. For the first time in many years, a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analysis found that total
college-level job openings between 1998 and 2008 will nearly equal the number of
college-educated entrants to the labor force. This contrasts with recent years when the number of
openings was somewhat lower than the number of graduates.
3. BLS expects that the number of college-level jobs between 1998 and 2008 will grow faster than
the number of jobs for workers with less education. "Computer engineer" is expected to be the
fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Other rapidly growing occupations include:
computer systems analysts, database administrators, physician assistants, residential counselors,
engineering and information systems managers, and financial services sales agents.
4. Total college enrollment is expected to reach a record 15.1 million students in 2000. Between
2000 and 2010, full-time enrollment is projected to increase by 19 percent, and part-time
enrollment is projected to increase by 11 percent.
5. About 63 percent of all 1999 high school graduates went directly on to college in fall 1999.
6. About 36 percent of all 18- to 24-year olds enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university in
7. About 1.2 million bachelor's degrees are expected to be awarded in 2000-01, up 9 percent from
8. The percentage of students taking chemistry rose from 40 percent in 1986 to 57 percent in
9. The percentage of 17-year-olds who completed higher-level math courses
(algebra II and
precalculus or calculus) rose 14 percentage points from 1978 to 1999.
10. Black and Hispanic students who had high school curricula of rigorous intensity and high quality
and completed a high-level math course were more likely to complete a bachelor's degree program
than their peers who pursued a less rigorous curriculum.
11. Between 1984 and 1999, the number of students who took AP exams increased markedly,
rising from 50 to 152 per 1,000 12th-graders.
12. Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1979. In 2000, about 57 percent of
college students are women. In 2000-01, it is expected that women will receive 57 percent of all
bachelor's degrees and 58 percent of all master's degrees.
13. About 1 million persons in postsecondary institutions are disabled. About 5 percent of
undergraduates and 3 percent of graduate students are disabled.
14. In 1995-96, about one-third of freshmen at all 4-year colleges and more than one-half of
freshmen at public 2-year colleges were first-generation college students. First-generation students
tended to be older than college students on average, with 46 percent 20 years or older, compared
to 33 percent overall.
15. In 1999-2000, more than half of the students attending 4-year institutions paid less than $4,000
in tuition and fees, and almost three-quarters paid less than $8,000. The average cost in tuition and
fees, room and board for a 4-year public institution in 1999-2000 was $8,265.
16. In the 1990s, average aid per full-time equivalent student increased from $3,614 in 1989-90 to
$6,085 in 1998-99, a 68 percent increase. In part, this increase reflects larger Pell Grant awards for
needy students. Since 1993, the maximum award has increased 36 percent to $3,125, and now
covers about 92 percent of the tuition and fees at a public 4-year college.
17. In 1999, approximately 13 million Americans were eligible for the Hope and Lifetime Learning
tax credits for postsecondary training and education, totaling $7 billion in aid.
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