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ERIC Number: ED562848
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Supply and Demand in the Higher Education Market: College Enrollment. Research Brief
Kumar, Amal; Hurwitz, Michael
College Board
Higher education in the United States is a complex and multilayered system where open-access community colleges coexist with highly selective, 4-year institutions to which only a handful of students each year gain access. Each institution plays a unique role in this marketplace, and students across the spectrum engage with the system at different--and often, multiple--levels. Much of the national debate about postsecondary education in the United States in recent years has centered on the pervasive gaps in access to, and success in, higher education--across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, or gender lines. This discourse typically takes a narrow view, focusing on one type of institution (e.g., for-profit colleges) or one type of student (e.g., low-income, first-generation students). Much of this popular narrative misses the forest for the trees, failing to situate individual students' contexts in the larger narrative of supply and demand in the higher education marketplace. This research brief, along with its companion brief, aims for a wider lens by including the universe of postsecondary institutions in the United States and situating the racial/ethnic gaps in college enrollment in the context of the changing American demographic. This brief takes a data-based approach to describing trends in college admission, primarily focusing on how the changing face of the U.S. high school graduate has translated into the shifting demographic of the U.S. first-time college student. Data used in the following analyses come from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Private School Survey, as well as from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This brief unfolds in three parts: First, the authors briefly describe the high-level trends in high school graduation and college enrollment, paying special attention to the outcomes of different race/ethnic groups. They then disaggregate college enrollment by college institution level and examine how different racial/ethnic groups interact with the system at different levels, and finally, briefly identify a few key trends in the migration patterns in higher education market. A bibliography is included. [For the companion brief "Supply and Demand in the Higher Education Market: College Admission and College Choice," see ED562849.]
College Board. 250 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10281. Tel: 212-713-8000; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Counselors; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: College Board