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Meeting the Numbers

Even without proposed initiatives to bolster the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields in place, the US is on track to have even more college graduates in those fields, ScienceInsider's Jeffrey Mervis reports.

To come to this conclusion ScienceInsider pulled together and analyzed recent education statistics. Mervis notes, though, that the data includes two-year degree recipients and that the goal of just how many people to bring into the STEM fields has been variable.

Various plans, Mervis writes, have called for a doubling of STEM bachelor's degrees awarded or 10,000 more STEM teachers at the elementary or secondary levels. And the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology called for both.

Based on data from the National Science Foundation, the number of STEM degrees awarded has grown from 241,000 in 2000 to 355,000 in 2012, and, Mervis says, if that number remains the same for the rest of the decade, then the total number of new STEM graduates will surpass the goal set by PCAST. This increase began without these initiatives, he says.

"For whatever reason, it appears, US students are finding their own way to a STEM degree," Mervis adds.

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