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STEM Indicators Show the State of Tech

scientific formula overlay as hand writes in notebook

A small number of institutions awarded three-quarters of doctorates and over half of master's degrees in S&E fields in 2019.

Credit: Gertty Images

The National Science Board has published "Higher Education in Science and Engineering," a new set of congressionally mandated STEM indicators. Key findings include those on undergraduate enrollment, which dropped by 3.6 percent over all in fall 2020, with public community colleges showing the sharpest decline at 10 percent. The total number of international students on visas enrolled at U.S. institutions declined by almost 23 percent from 2019 to 2020, largely due to COVID-19.

While women are at or approaching parity with men at most degree levels and earn more than half of degrees in some fields, the report says, "long-standing differences persist," especially in engineering, computer science, mathematics, and statistics.

Also of concern to the board is that a larger proportion of Black than Asian and white students earn STEM degrees — especially doctorates — from for-profit institutions, "with possible consequences for debt and career outcomes."

From Inside Higher Ed
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