How Did the Great Recession Affect Higher Education Enrollment?

This new Census Bureau report – Postsecondary Enrollment Before, During, and Since the Great Recession – presents some statistical data that may surprise some people. Herewith are some observations:

  • The recession saw a 33 percent increase in enrollment in two-year colleges from 2006 to 2011. In 2010, 29 percent of all students enrolled were in two-year colleges. By 2015, this share had fallen to 25 percent, below the prerecession average level of 26 percent. However, the number of students enrolled in two-year colleges was still 10 percent above the level in 2006.
  • Compared to the prerecession period (2000 to 2007), male undergraduate enrollment was 18 percent higher postrecession (2012 to 2015). Female enrollment also grew, but only by 14 percent.
  • Hispanic college enrollment experienced growth through the recession and beyond. The number of Hispanics enrolled in college increased by 1.5 million — an approximate doubling (184.0 percent) of the prerecession level. Before the recession, 13.2 percent of Hispanics ages 15 to 34 enrolled in undergraduate college, while 20.2 percent of Hispanics enrolled in college after the recession. (Tipsheet)

Tables and figures, some with data back to 2000, add to the utility of this brief document.

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