Breakdown of expenses

A larger portion of expenses at public two-year colleges goes toward instruction, institutional support, academic support and student services than at public four-year institutions, according to a new federal report.

In fiscal year 2017, about 42 percent of expenses at public two-year colleges went toward instruction, compared to 28 percent at public four-year institutions, the U.S. Education Department (ED) report shows.

About 17 percent of public two-year colleges’ expenses were for institutional support and 11 percent were for student services, compared to 8.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, at public four-year colleges and universities.

Public two-years spent about 8.7 percent of expenses on academic support, compared to 8.3 percent at public four-years.

At public four-years, research comprised about 12 percent of expenses, compared to 0.1 percent at public two-years.

ED does not include public two-year institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees among its data for public two-year colleges.

Other findings in the report:

  • Of the 17.1 million undergraduate students in the U.S., 35 percent were enrolled in two-year institutions and 63 percent at four-year institutions. Among the 13.2 million undergrads studying at public institutions, 56 percent were at four-year institutions and about 44 percent were at two-year colleges.
  • The one-year-later retention rate for first-time, credential-seeking students at public two-year colleges is 62 percent for full-time students and 45 percent for part-time students, compared to 81 percent and 54 percent, respectively, at public four-year institutions.
  • Of the 5.8 million public two-year college students, 19 percent were enrolled in some distance education courses and 13 percent were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. About two-thirds (67 percent) were not enrolled in any distance education courses.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.