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Highest degree completed


For persons age 16 and older, HIDEG indicates the highest academic degree attained.

Codes and Frequencies

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In 1996, HIDEG was derived from two questions, one asking if participants had their high school diploma, and a second question asking for their highest academic degree. For 1997-2012 and 2015 forward, HIDEG was derived from three survey questions: highest grade completed, high school diploma, and highest degree. For cases where the response to the high school diploma question was "no degree," but the highest grade given was 13-17, HIDEG was coded "high school diploma." If persons who indicated "no degree" responded "refused" or "don't know" to highest degree, they were coded "No degree" for HIDEG. HIDEG was not offered in the original 2013 and 2014 public use MEPS data, but was reintroduced in 2015.

For 1996-1998, HIDEG reports the person's highest degree as of the last day (12/31) of the survey year. For 1999 forward, HIDEG was based on the participant's highest degree when first entering MEPS.


  • 1996-2011; 2016-2021: Persons age 16+.
  • 2012: Persons age 16+ in their 1st or 2nd round interview and in Panel 16.
  • 2015: Persons age 16+ in their 3rd-5th round interview (Panel 19) or in Panel 20.


  • 1996-2012, 2015-2021



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