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ERIC Number: ED530329
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Degree Production Trends by Program Area: A National Analysis 2004-2009
Nash, Chad; Zaback, Katie
State Higher Education Executive Officers
The national imperative for increased postsecondary level completions has never been clearer. In order to remain competitive in an ever-changing global market, the United States must produce an educated workforce; one that is ready to lead and inspire a 21st century economy. Recognizing this urgency, the President, several foundations, policy organizations, and states recently set several bold college completion goals. Since last year, the State Higher Education Executive Officers have added to the public dialogue with the release of a series of reports, including trends in national degree production and costs related to postsecondary completions and sub-baccalaureate certificate and degree growth. This report is a follow-up to "Degree Production and Cost Trends: A National Analysis", released in August 2010. With a focus on completions by program area over the last five years, the following questions continue to drive the authors' research and analysis: (1) What trends can be observed in completion production?; (2) Are there different state factors driving results?; and (3) What are the policy implications of a state's completion production? This analysis uses data downloaded directly from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), unlike the "Degree Productions and Costs Trends" report, which utilized the "Delta Cost Project's" dataset. To maintain consistency across these reports, institutions included in this analysis were based on data reported in the 2009 IPEDS Institutional Characteristics Survey. They include Title IV, public, postsecondary institutions from all fifty states that reported both full-time equivalent (FTE) and completions by Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. This analysis looks at degrees and certificates awarded by fields of study based on data collected in the IPEDS Completions Survey. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) created the first CIP taxonomy in 1980 to track fields of study, which was revised in 1985, 1990, 2000, and, 2010. For the purposes of this analysis, the 2-digit CIP series is utilized rather than the 6-digit or 4-digit CIP codes, the latter of which are more specific descriptions of a field of study. Further, the 57 individual 2-digit CIP codes were categorized into nine groups (see Appendix 1b); seven of those groups are examined in this report: (1) Arts and Humanities; (2) Business and Communication; (3) Education; (4) Health; (5) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); (6) Social and Behavior Sciences and Human Services; and (7) Trades. Additionally, this report groups academic awards as follows: (1) Certificate includes: Award of less than 1 academic year; Award of at least 1 but less than 2 academic years; and Award of at least 2 but less than 4 academic years; (2) 2 or 4 Year Degree includes: Associates degree and Bachelors degree; (3) Advanced Degree includes: Masters degree; Doctors degree; and First-professional degree; and (4) Post Degree or Advanced Certificate includes: Post-masters certificate; Postbaccalaureate certificate; and First-professional certificate. Although this report looks at total completions rather than a ratio of completions by student, parts of the analysis use FTE to put completions data into greater context. IPEDS describes FTE as "a single value providing a meaningful combination of full-time and part-time students." IPEDS provides two different measures of FTE, one based on enrollment and the other based on contact and credit hours, in other words institutional activity. Since the FTE calculated from contact and credit hours represents an institution's annual activity, this report uses this annual student FTE measure for the years analyzed in this study, 2003-2004 to 2008-2009. Appended are: (1) Carnegie Classification Institution Types; and (2) SHEEO Groupings of Program Areas Based on 2-Digit CIP Codes. (Contains 10 figures, 6 tables and 5 footnotes.) [This paper was written with support from Chris Crumrine and Tanya I. Garcia.
State Higher Education Executive Officers. 3035 Center Green Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301. Tel: 303-541-1600; Fax: 303-541-1639; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers
Identifiers - Location: United States