November 10, 2009

College Enrollment at All-Time High

39.6

Roughly four-in-ten young adults are enrolled in either a two- or four-year college, the highest level of enrollment ever.

As of October 2008, 11.5 million students, or 39.6% of all young adults ages 18 to 24, were enrolled in either a two- or four-year college. Both the total number and the share of young adults enrolled in college are all-time highs. Enrollment in college had been on the rise for several years, but the increase in college attendance over the last year has been entirely driven by the increasing number of students attending community college. Tough economic times, which have had an especially harsh impact on young adults, may be making the less costly option of community college more appealing. From 2007 to 2008 the percentage of adults ages 18 to 24 enrolled in community college rose from 10.9% to 11.8%. However, despite the recession and rising tuition, enrollment at enrollments at four-year colleges has remained stable over the past year. Beyond economics, there is another major factor behind the increased college enrollment: high school dropout rates have also fallen to a record low. Read More