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ERIC Number: EJ992228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug-26
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
As Portrait of Typical Student Changes, so Do Worries about Costs
Lipka, Sara
Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug 2012
As the economy sputters and outcry over the cost of college continues, more students keep enrolling--even if, in the past year, some have used campuses to protest their debt burden and what they see as other economic injustices. Enrollment has ticked up, but who goes to college and how they do it are changing. Students long dubbed "nontraditional" have become more common. Colleges are seeing more adult learners, significant proportions of part-time students, and increasing mobility through transfers and dual enrollment. Maintaining those enrollment gains is a looming concern. Some administrators, especially at private colleges, worry that liberal levels of tuition discounting to fill classes are unsustainable. And projections of the numbers of high-school graduates published in 2008 by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education continue to produce angst, especially in certain regions. The commission foresees declining numbers for the next six years in the Northeast and Midwest. But, for now, the state of enrollment is healthy, at least according to the most recent available figures, from 2010. In the fall of that year, degree-granting colleges and universities enrolled more than 18 million undergraduate and nearly three million graduate students, up a total of more than 588,000 students over the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. That means almost half of the young people who completed high school are enrolled in higher education, compared with roughly a third three decades ago. Black, Hispanic, and white students are all going to college at increasing rates. The number of students entering college for the first time in 2010 was 2.1 million, up 6.8 percent over 2006, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. After three years of big increases in enrollment, community colleges saw a slight decline last year. From the fall of 2010 to 2011, total enrollment dropped nearly 1 percent, to 8.3 million. Still, the sector's enrollment is up 22 percent since 2007. But the surge, a result of the recession that began in late 2007, finally seems to have let up. Meanwhile, nondegree programs are on the upswing. Higher education's most common award is still the bachelor's degree, but certificates are the new runner-up, having surpassed associate and master's degrees, according to a report in June from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Certificates made up 22 percent of credentials awarded in 2010, compared with just 6 percent in 1980. The most common occupations of certificate holders are office work, transportation, health care, and metalworking.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States