Trouble Ahead? 2019-20 IPEDS Data Reveals Decrease in Completions

Looking at newly released IPEDS data, Gray Associates finds that this was the first year-over-year decline in total completions this decade.

The recently released 2019-2020 IPEDS data show a slight decrease in overall degrees conferred compared to the previous year.  While this data is still preliminary, it shows that the total number of completions in 2019-2020 was 5,311,058 compared to 5,320,540 for 2018-2019, a decrease of 9,482 awards, or 0.2%.  This was the first year-over-year decline in total completions this decade.

Total IPEDS Completions, 2010-2020

The drop-off was not spread evenly across award levels, however.  Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral completions actually increased in 2019-2020 compared to the previous year, despite the obvious challenges wrought by the Covid pandemic.  The entire drop-off is found in associate or undergraduate certificate programs, completions of which fell by 1.8% and 3.7%, respectively, year-over-year.  The largest year-over-year percentage gain was found in graduate certificates, which added 8,224 completions; an increase of 11.2% over 2019.

Bachelor’s degrees accounted for the largest share of overall completions in 2020 at 41%, growing to over 2.16 million completions.  Even with the year-over-year decline in completion volumes, associate degrees and undergraduate certificates accounted for 19% of overall competitions each.  Graduate certificates, while growing quickly, accounted for the lowest share of total completions, at 2%.  Master’s and doctoral degrees accounted for 16% and 4% of completions, respectively.

As Gray Associates continues to sort through the IPEDS data, we will post updates on changes and trends in program growth, modality and sector.  Keep an eye out for more news and analysis in the days and weeks to come.  For convenience, subscribe below to receive an alert when we release additional news.

Related Posts

How to Use Market Analysis to Create a Winning Program Proposal

Analyzing market data informs academic program evaluation and decision-making, leading to a strong program portfolio. Once an institution has analyzed their market data, they can rely on the data to inform which programs to start, stop, and grow. In this blog, we will show how institutions can apply the market analysis that leads to a successful new program proposal.

How to Manage Curricular Efficiency

In an excerpt from Start, Stop, or Grow, Robert Atkins discusses curricular efficiency, which measures, manages, and improves the units of education that can be delivered for a given amount of instructional cost and quality, and the importance of the cost per student credit hour (SCH).

Game and Interactive Media Design Levels Up

The digital and interactive gaming industry soared in the past decade and it’s currently brighter than ever! Job opportunities continue to grow and new programs in Game and Interactive Media Design are rapidly popping up at institutions. There has never been a better time to get in the game.

About Us
closeup photo of

Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

Let’s Socialize

Popular Post