PRIVATE COLLEGES AND STEM
MYTHS AND FACTS
March 2014
MYTH FACT
Students who major in
STEM fields at smaller
private colleges are less
likely to change their major
and more lik...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
39%
27%
25%
22%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
Public Nondoctoral Publi...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
61%
59%
56%
31%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
Private Doctoral Private Nondoc...
MYTH
Large public
research universities
are the best places
to earn an
undergraduate
STEM degree.
FACT
Not only do smaller...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
34%
52%
80% 81%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Pri...
MYTH
Students who
graduate in STEM
fields from large
research universities
have a better chance
of getting into grad
schoo...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
14%
22%
19%
21%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Priva...
MYTH
STEM graduates
from large public
universities are more
likely to earn PhDs
than their peers from
smaller private
coll...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
17%
13%
20%
49%
20%
21%
12%
48%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Private Nondoctoral...
MYTH
Large public research
universities provide
the clearest pathway
to a PhD in a STEM
field.
FACT
Private college gradua...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
State/Institution Undergraduate
Enrollment
Fall 2003
Bachelor’s
Degrees
Awarde...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
State/Institution Undergraduate
Enrollment
Fall 2003
Bachelor’s
Degrees
Awarde...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
State/Institution Undergraduate
Enrollment
Fall 2003
Bachelor’s
Degrees
Awarde...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
State/Institution Undergraduate
Enrollment
Fall 2003
Bachelor’s
Degrees
Awarde...
Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
State/Institution Undergraduate
Enrollment
Fall 2003
Bachelor’s
Degrees
Awarde...
Other factors to consider:
• Hallmarks of the smaller private college experience include
faculty emphasis on teaching, sma...
For additional information about these facts and
others that describe the contributions of smaller
private colleges to STE...
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Private Colleges and STEM: Myths and Facts

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The Council of Independent College's new fact sheet, “Private Colleges and STEM: Myths and Facts,” contains new research to set the record straight by countering myths and providing facts about the success of small, private colleges in preparing STEM majors for careers and graduate study.

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Private Colleges and STEM: Myths and Facts

  1. 1. PRIVATE COLLEGES AND STEM MYTHS AND FACTS March 2014
  2. 2. MYTH FACT Students who major in STEM fields at smaller private colleges are less likely to change their major and more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in STEM than students at public universities. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 The best way to build the STEM pipeline is to invest in the institutions that serve the largest number of students—large, public research universities.
  3. 3. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 39% 27% 25% 22% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Private Nondoctoral Private Doctoral Percentage of STEM Majors Who Switched to a Non-STEM Field Note: Spring 2009 status of 2003-2004 first-time postsecondary students who claimed a major in STEM fields by academic year 2005-2006. Source: U.S. Department of Education, Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS 04/09). Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.
  4. 4. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 61% 59% 56% 31% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Private Doctoral Private Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Public Nondoctoral Percentage of STEM Majors Who Completed a Bachelor’s Degree in a STEM Field Note: Spring 2009 status of 2003-2004 first-time postsecondary students who claimed a major in STEM fields by academic year 2005- 2006. Source: U.S. Department of Education, Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS 04/09). Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.
  5. 5. MYTH Large public research universities are the best places to earn an undergraduate STEM degree. FACT Not only do smaller private colleges have higher STEM graduation rates, but their graduates also are more likely to finish on time. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
  6. 6. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 34% 52% 80% 81% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Private Nondoctoral Private Doctoral Percentage of STEM Graduates Who Earned Bachelor's Degrees in Four Years or Fewer Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2008-09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09) , 2007–08 bachelor’s degree recipients.
  7. 7. MYTH Students who graduate in STEM fields from large research universities have a better chance of getting into grad school. FACT One in five STEM graduates from smaller private colleges enroll in a master’s or PhD program within a year of graduation, roughly the same rate as graduates of large research universities. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
  8. 8. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 14% 22% 19% 21% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Private Nondoctoral Private Doctoral Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2008-09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09) , 2009 enrollment in graduate degree programs of 2007–08 bachelor’s degree recipients. Percentage of Graduates in STEM Fields Who Enrolled in a Graduate Program within One Year After Graduation
  9. 9. MYTH STEM graduates from large public universities are more likely to earn PhDs than their peers from smaller private colleges. FACT Although smaller private colleges produced only 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, one in five (20 percent) of all PhDs in STEM were awarded to students who completed their undergraduate work at a small private college. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
  10. 10. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 17% 13% 20% 49% 20% 21% 12% 48% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Private Nondoctoral Private Doctoral Public Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Share of Bachelor's Degrees in STEM (2001- 2005) Produced by Sector Share of PhD Recipients in STEM (2006-2010) Who Completed Bachelor's Degree in Sector Share of Total Degrees by Sector Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates.
  11. 11. MYTH Large public research universities provide the clearest pathway to a PhD in a STEM field. FACT Private college graduates complete PhDs in STEM at a higher rate than public university graduates. Many smaller private colleges regularly send a higher percentage of their STEM graduates into PhD programs than in-state public flagship research universities do. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
  12. 12. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 State/Institution Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2003 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 2001-2005 Number of Graduates Who Earned PhD 2006-2010 Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhD Pennsylvania Allegheny College 1,849 70 25 36% University of Pittsburgh 17,413 239 30 13% Ohio College of Wooster 1,871 75 21 28% Ohio State University 37,605 219 33 15% Virginia University of Richmond 3,613 68 17 25% University of Virginia 13,829 453 28 6% Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhDs in Chemistry Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates.
  13. 13. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 State/Institution Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2003 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 2001-2005 Number of Graduates Who Earned PhD 2006-2010 Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhD Pennsylvania Haverford College 1,163 178 51 29% Penn State University 35,002 1,739 280 16% Iowa Grinnell College 1,524 207 58 28% University of Iowa 20,233 656 85 10% Ohio Oberlin College 2,907 268 66 25% Ohio State University 37,605 1,708 144 8% Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates. Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhDs in Biological Sciences
  14. 14. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 State/Institution Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2003 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 2001-2005 Number of Graduates Who Earned PhD 2006-2010 Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhD Pennsylvania Swarthmore College 1,500 58 8 14% Penn State University 35,002 1,241 32 3% Oregon Lewis & Clark College 1,792 55 6 11% University of Oregon 15,983 352 11 3% Michigan Hope College 3,068 70 6 9% University of Michigan 24,517 817 32 4% Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates. Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhDs in Computer Science
  15. 15. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 State/Institution Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2003 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 2001-2005 Number of Graduates Who Earned PhD 2006-2010 Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhD Massachusetts Mount Holyoke College 2,147 21 7 33% Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4,112 308 85 28% Washington University of Puget Sound 2,516 43 12 28% University of Washington 27,962 312 38 12% Georgia Morehouse College 2,859 31 7 23% University of Georgia 25,415 30 5 17% Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates. Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhDs in Physics
  16. 16. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014 State/Institution Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2003 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 2001-2005 Number of Graduates Who Earned PhD 2006-2010 Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhD Texas University of Dallas 1,250 21 6 29% University of Texas at Austin 38,383 816 40 5% Pennsylvania Swarthmore College 1,500 54 14 26% University of Pittsburgh 17,413 206 12 6% Ohio Kenyon College 1,163 35 6 17% Ohio State University 37,605 296 20 7% Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, Survey of Earned Doctorates. Percentage of Graduates Who Earned PhDs in Mathematics and Statistics
  17. 17. Other factors to consider: • Hallmarks of the smaller private college experience include faculty emphasis on teaching, smaller class sizes, mission- centered course curriculum, and active forms of pedagogy. • In the sciences, this translates to more personal attention from faculty members in the classroom and in the laboratory, as well as opportunities for open-ended, independent research projects. Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014
  18. 18. For additional information about these facts and others that describe the contributions of smaller private colleges to STEM fields, visit: www.cic.edu/STEM For questions, please contact: Laura Wilcox, Vice President for Communications lwilcox@cic.nche.edu (202) 466-7230 Council of Independent Colleges, March 2014

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