Three takeaways from federal report on ‘The Condition of Education’

According to the Department of Education’s 300-page annual report on the state of education in the nation, America’s four-year institutions may be more accessible than people realize. That’s one of three key takeaways highlighted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The report—which covers everything from child care arrangements to graduate degrees—shows that 59 percent of U.S. four-year institutions accepted anywhere between 50 to 75 percent of applicants, while just 14 percent of them accepted less than half of their applicants.

The report also reveals that despite the numerous majors available to students, they tend to choose from just a handful. More than 50 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2016 fell under one of the following fields: business, health professions and related programs, social sciences and history, psychology, biological and biomedical sciences, and engineering. The report also indicates that graduate students clustered into an even narrower path, with more than half of master’s degrees going to students in the business, education, and health fields.

Finally, The Chronicle calls attention to higher education enrollment findings, noting that while there was an increase in the percentage of of 18-to-24-year-olds enrolling in college, the rate still had reached just 41 percent in 2016. Among high-school completers, the enrollment rate was 70 percent in 2016, and the gap in enrollment rates between low- and high-income students had shrunk from 30 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2016.

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