Dear Commons Community,
As part of the preparation for a presentation I am making in September for EDUCAUSE, I looked up enrollment projections for higher education at the USDOE NCES website at: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98
Here is a brief summary:
“Enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 14 percent between 1987 and 1997. Between 1997 and 2007, enrollment increased at a faster rate (26 percent), from 14.5 million to 18.2 million. Much of the growth between 1997 and 2007 was in full-time enrollment; the number of full-time students rose 34 percent, while the number of part-time students rose 15 percent. During the same time period, the number of females rose 29 percent, compared to an increase of 22 percent in the number of males. Enrollment increases can be affected both by population growth and by rising rates of enrollment. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 25.5 million to 29.5 million, an increase of 16 percent, and the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college remained relatively stable (37 percent in 1997 and 39 percent in 2007). In addition to the enrollment in accredited 2-year colleges, 4-year colleges, and universities, about 447,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible1, postsecondary institutions in fall 2006.
The number of young students has been growing more rapidly than the number of older students, but this pattern is expected to shift. Between 1995 and 2006, the enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 33 percent. Enrollment of people 25 and over rose by 13 percent during the same period. From 2006 to 2017, NCES projects a rise of 10 percent in enrollments of people under 25, and a rise of 19 percent in enrollments of people 25 and over.”
By 2017, there will be more than 20 million students enrolled in postsecondary education. A most serious question is who will pay for all of this education. If current trends continue with the diminution of public funding, it will be the students and their families.