Science, Engineering Degrees Grew Twice as Fast as Others, Report Says

The number of STEM degrees earned in the last 5 years grew exceptionally.

New data show science and engineering degree completions have grown twice as fast as other disciplines since 2009.

Additionally, DeWitt says a potential overlap between older students and other demographics could explain why some groups, such as women and minority students, have had lower participation rates in STEM fields.

"In some cases when we're talking about older students not being able to break into science and engineering, we might be talking about those other demographics as well," DeWitt says.

DeWitt says researchers typically do not look into differences in age when studying the distribution of STEM degrees and that he hopes these reports will start a conversation.

[SEE ALSO: Behind America's Decline in Math, Science and Technology]

"I think it's kind of an interesting question of whether there's something about science and engineering that seems like an insurmountable obstacle to an older student," DeWitt says. "And if there are barriers, I think that is something higher education would want to address because older students bring something special with their diverse backgrounds."

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