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Report Number P70-39
Rebecca Sutterlin, Robert A. Kominski
Component ID: #ti1400455853

Introduction

Each year, millions of persons throughout the nation attend colleges and other postsecondary institutions in pursuit of knowledge, skills, and training that will make them better equipped citizens and workers. While a wide array of educational opportunities beyond high school are available to most adults, they are not without financial cost. Indeed, there is much current debate about how best to provide access to higher education to as many people as desire it. In this report we look at the individuals who were enrolled in postsecondary school at any time during the 1990-1991 school year and the costs and financing of their education.

Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), this report examines patterns of school enrollment, education costs, financial aid, and the associated social, demographic, and economic characteristics of postsecondary students in the United States. Often, the collection of postsecondary enrollment data includes only those enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges; that is, undergraduate and graduate/professional degree programs. This report also includes persons in vocational, technical, and business schools. The tabulations show the numbers of high school graduates (17 years and older) enrolled in postsecondary institutions by a variety of demographic, social, and economic characteristics. Other tabulations show the average costs, financial aid received, net costs, and numbers of aid recipients by level of enrollment. These tabulations are crossed by gender, family income, race/ethnicity, and student dependency status.

The analysis is based on data collected as part of the Wave 5 (interview) of the 1990 SIPP panel. These data were gathered in the 4-month period from June through September of 1991. The fifth wave includes a section of questions regarding school enrollment and financing for the past year. Thus, the period of enrollment under examination basically reflects the 1990-1991 school year. Analysis of enrollment is restricted to persons 17 years and older with at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Tabulations of the financing data focus on those high school graduates age 17 and over who were enrolled in a postsecondary institution.

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