Posted: July 24, 2015
By: Jeffrey Megargell, HEAG Consultant
While there have been dire warnings in recent years within the higher education community that there will be fewer overall students entering collegiate halls over the next two decades due to lower birth rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released some good news for colleges regarding the number of high school students pursuing some form of post-secondary education.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Report
According to the BLS report, 68.4% of 2014 U.S. high school graduates were enrolled in colleges and universities last fall. This rate reflects an increase over the 2013 graduates, of whom 65.9% entered college—a significant rise of 2.5% year over year.
The 2014 data also shows a continuation of higher rates of college attendance for young women (72.7%) than for young men (64%). Enrollment rates vary widely by race, with Asians highest (86.1%), followed by black (70.9%), white (67.3%), and Hispanic (65.2%) graduates.
National Center for Education Statistics
College enrollment increases over the past few decades can be described in terms of two distinct groups: younger students recently out of high school, and those deciding to go back to school after the age of 25. In recent years, the percentage increase in the number of students age 25 and over who enrolled in degree-granting institutions has been similar to the percentage increase in the number of 18- to 24-year-old students, but the rate of increase is expected to be higher for older students than for younger students in the coming years. Between 2000 and 2012, the enrollment of students under age 25 and the enrollment of those age 25 and over both increased by 35%. From 2012 to 2023, however, the National Center for Education Statistics projects the rate of increase for students under age 25 to be 12%, compared with 20%for students age 25 and over.
What Does It Mean For Your School?
It is very encouraging that more students are looking to obtain a college degree across all age groups and ethnicities, at least in the short term. While costs at both public and private colleges need to be reined in over time to encourage future enrollment, students are still attending at higher rates than in previous generations. As we enter the second half of this decade and beyond, even if the raw amount of students graduating high school decreases over time, the higher education community should be encouraged by the number of high school students who want to further their education along with adults who may need to go back to school because of career changes or personal growth.
Now is the time to start preparing at your school. Can your current systems and processes handle this expected increase in demand? Are you able to maintain compliance while meeting the new demand? HEAG offers a wide variety of services to help your institution prepare including Business Process Reviews (BPR), Compliance Assessments and VERIFY™, HEAG’s premier remote verification service. Contact us today for more information.