More Americans graduating from college

Only 59 percent of freshmen who started college in 2006 managed to graduate within six years, while Asian women, who enjoy the nation's highest graduation rate at 70 percent, are earning bachelor’s degrees at more than twice the rate of African-American men (32 percent).

Those were just two of the revelations contained in an exhaustive dump of statistics on the nation’s schools – from prekindergarten to doctoral-degree granting institutions - recently released by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some additional findings:

- The most popular higher-ed credential that Americans earned during the 2012-2013 school year was the bachelor’s degree. The government projects that 1.8 million individuals earned a bachelor’s degree, while coming in second place was the two-year, associate’s degree, which 993,000 recipients earned.

- The government projected that 756,000 people obtained a master’s degree in the 2012-13 school year, while 175,000 earned a doctoral degree that also included newly minted degrees for physicians, dentists and attorneys. 

- In the decade ending in 2013, the percentage of American adults with bachelor’s degrees rose from 27 percent to 31 percent.

- During the same period, the percentage of the adult population that completed high school increased from 84 percent to 88 percent. Among young adults (ages 25 to 29), the percentage of high school grads rose from 86 percent to 90 percent.

The nation’s high school dropout rate has been declining, but it varies significantly among groups. The dropout rate for blacks (7.3 percent) and Hispanics (13.6 percent) is higher than for whites (5 percent).

- Twenty-one million people were enrolled in college in 2011, which was nearly as high as the record enrollment in 2010. College enrollment is expected to set new records from 2012 through 2021.

- Between 2001 and 2011, the number of full-time college students increased by 38 percent, compared with a 23 percent increase in part-time students. 

- The number of post-secondary institutions has also reached at all-time high. The government estimates that in 2013 there were nearly 21,500 institutions ranging from beautician schools to Ivy League universities. In comparison, according to the government statistics, there were just 52 such institutions in 1869.