NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
ERIC Number: ED562849
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Supply and Demand in the Higher Education Market: College Admission and College Choice. Research Brief
Hurwitz, Michael; Kumar, Amal
College Board
The nation's most selective colleges are often the centerpiece of the discussion surrounding college choice, and trends in college selectivity are relayed through stories of plunging admission rates at a few high-profile postsecondary institutions and anecdotes of model high school students unable to secure seats at these colleges. Such stories make for ideal attention-grabbing headlines and probably generate more panic than they should for students, parents, and others actively engaged in helping prospective college-goers to seek out and attend appropriately matched colleges. The information provided through these newspaper and magazine articles, books, and blogs fall short in that they present to consumers only pieces of the story, not a holistic national perspective of how the student demand for college has changed along with postsecondary responses to these changes. Experiences of individual students or institutions may or may not be representative of national trends. In this brief and the companion brief, the authors depart from the traditional manner of relaying trends in college applications, admission, and enrollment by taking a step back and considering patterns over time for the universe of U.S. 4-year postsecondary institutions with competitive admission processes, rather than small and possibly unrepresentative subsets of them. This wide-lens approach is possible through the aggregation and analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), as well as the College Board's own data. This brief begins by documenting trends in application volume, admission, and enrollment across all of the nation's selective 4-year postsecondary institutions. These trends are disaggregated by level of selectivity to call attention to the occasionally contrasting patterns that occur across selectivity categories. The authors offer corroboration that college admission rates are indeed declining and that the decline has continued in recent years even after the annual count of new U.S. high school graduates has peaked. Colleges have responded to the heightened demand by growing their first-year cohorts, although the rate of enrollment expansion has not kept pace with the sharper increases in application volume. A bibliography is included. [For the companion brief "Supply and Demand in the Higher Education Market: College Enrollment," see ED562848.]
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: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: College Board