The Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2016 Historical Trend Report

The Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2016 Historical Trend Report

This 2016 Indicators Report and the earlier reports compile historical statistical data from the nationally representative government statistics including the Census Bureau household studies and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)-sponsored high school and college longitudinal studies.

2016 Historical Trend Report

Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States

The report shows that while bachelor’s degree attainment rates have increased for all family income quartiles, the distribution of bachelor’s degree attainment between family income levels has remained relatively constant since 1970. The top two family income quartiles together accounted for 72 percent of the total bachelor’s degrees attained in 1970 and 77 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in 2014. It indicates that students from higher and lower income quartiles enroll in different types of colleges and universities with varying rates of college success.




The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the University of Pennsylvania Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (PennAHEAD) announce the release of Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2016 Historical Trend Report.

The purposes of this equity indicators project are to:

  • Report the status of higher education equity in the United States and identify changes over time in measures of equity

  •  Identify policies and practices that promote and hinder progress
  • Illustrate the need for increased support of policies, programs, and practices that improve overall attainment in higher education and create greater equity in higher education opportunities and outcomes.

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The Pell Institute shares the mission of the Council to advance and defend the ideal of equal opportunity in postsecondary education.

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