How many college students in the US will get degrees?

College Enrollment on my mind today as I return to DeVry University, for my last 8 week session of Undergrad studies.  Ever a martyr for punishment, I am going straight into Keller Graduate School of Management in July (assuming I am accepted, of course).  Anyway, I started wondering about the statistics relating to enrollment in the United states and went to my favorite stats site,, to see what I could find.  If you are not a fan of numbers, then this is a post you may want to skip.

Here is a table of overall numbers:

Number of U.S. Colleges and Universities Number Enrollment
Public 4-year institutions 629 6,837,605
Private 4-year institutions 1,845 4,161,815
Public 2-year institutions 1,070 6,184,229
Private 2-year institutions 596 303,826
Total 4,140 17,487,475
Undergraduate 14,473,884
Graduate 2,097,511
Professional 329,076
Degrees Awarded Annually: Number
Associate 696,660
Bachelor’s 1,439,264
Master’s 574,618
Doctorate 52,631
Professional 87,289
Enrollment Demographics:
Women 57.4%
Full-time 61.7%
Minority 30.9%
Foreign 3.3%

I fall into this group:

Private 4-year institutions 1,845 4,161,815
So, out of 10,599,420 ( 6,837,605 + 4,161,815) enrolled 4-year college students in 2013, only 1,439,264 obtain Bachelor’s Degrees, in a given year (Statisticbrain, 2014).

Here is a different view of Education Attainment in the US as of 2013.  I got this link from Wikipedia, but verified it at the website (2013).

Educational attainment in the United States, Age 25 and Over (2013)[3]
Education Percentage
High school graduate 88.15%
Some college 58.33%
Associate’s and/or Bachelor’s degree 41.50%
Bachelor’s degree 31.66%
Master’s and/or Doctorate and/or professional degree 11.57%
Doctorate and/or professional degree 3.16%
Doctorate 1.68%

According to this, about 32% of the population, age 25 or older, have obtained their Bachelor’s degree. (They use 25 as the cut-off, as few younger than that have obtained a higher degree)(Wikipedia, 2013). Also, you can note that an additional 10% of this population have at least an Associate’s Degree. Either way, I can see that I am in a select group, more than I ever realized.

You may be wondering what made me want to collect this data.  A few days back, someone pointed out to me, by the fact that I was about to graduate and obtain my Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business Administration and Management, I already was one of a select few that would do so this year, if at all or ever.  I had never thought about that way; never considered the privilege I was gaining along with the immense debt I have incurred these past 3 years.  I am much more motivated by helping people than I am by money, which makes this debt at least potentially justified.  I took every class I could in a custom plan to make myself better able to do a job that will include some aspect of service. I have an end game requiring more education, and so, I am thankful for those stray comments that help lift blinders off my self-perception and anything which blocks my clear view of my environment (the world in which I live and work). You could say it was an eye-opening moment.

I share my thoughts in an ongoing attempt at self-definition and an increasing ability to perceive both my self-worth and how it can help me help others.  Apologies for the bulky tables, I am still learning how to work with formatting outside of Word. (2014). Social Demographics – Education. Retrieved from

Statisticbrain. (2014). College enrollment statistics. Retrieved from


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