Education Progress

How many undergraduate students enroll in U.S. institutions?

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How many undergraduate students enroll in U.S. institutions?

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Notes:
Enrollment includes both 2-year and 4-year enrollment in all types of accredited U.S. institutions.
Notes:
Enrollment includes both 2-year and 4-year enrollment in all types of accredited U.S. institutions. Numbers of students reflect U.S. citizens and permanent residents only; they do not include foreign nationals with temporary visas.
Notes:
Enrollment includes both 2-year and 4-year enrollment in all types of accredited U.S. institutions.
Notes:
Enrollment includes both 2-year and 4-year enrollment in all types of accredited U.S. institutions. Numbers of students reflect U.S. citizens and permanent residents only; they do not include foreign nationals with temporary visas.

Main Finding

More women than men are enrolled as undergraduates, and the number of female students shows more growth over the past decade than for male students.

The number of undergraduate students continues to increase in every racial/ethnic group. From 2000 to 2010, the growth rate for Hispanics and blacks was greater than for the other groups.

The number of first-time freshmen enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities rose gradually from 2000 to 2007, and then showed a marked increase in 2008 and 2009 before flattening out in 2010. The pattern was similar for women and men.

Since 2000, the number of first-time freshmen has increased in every racial/ethnic group. Growth has been greatest among Hispanics and blacks, and particularly rapid since 2007.

Key Observations

  • Overall, the number of undergraduates grew from 13.4 million in 2000 to 18.3 million in 2010, an increase of 36%. The number of female students increased by 40%, compared to a 32% increase for male students during the period.
  • Women made up more than half of undergraduate students in every year. The number of female students, and their share of all undergraduates, rose gradually over the decade from 7.4 million (55%) in 2000 to 10.4 million (57%) in 2010.
  • In 2010, 10 million whites, over 2.5 million Hispanics, close to 2.5 million blacks, 1 million Asians/Pacific Islanders, and over 167,000 American Indians/Alaska Natives were enrolled as undergraduates.
  • From 2000 to 2010, undergraduate enrollment increased by 80% among Hispanics and 64% among blacks, compared to 16% among whites, 29% among Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 30% among American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • Hispanics and blacks each made up about 14% of all undergraduate students in 2010. In 2000 both groups accounted for approximately 11% of undergraduates.
  • Asians/Pacific Islanders were about 6% of the undergraduate population in both 2000 and 2010. American Indians/Alaska Natives represented slightly less than 1% of undergraduate students in both years.
  • As the percentage of minority students increased, the percentage of white undergraduate students dropped from 66% in 2000 to 56% in 2010.
  • The total number of first-time freshmen grew from 2.4 million in 2000 to 3.2 million in 2010, an increase of 35%.
  • Women were a majority of first-time freshmen in every year, rising from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.7 million in 2010.
  • In 2010, there were 1.7 million whites who were first-time freshmen, compared to approximately 494,000 Hispanics, 462,000 blacks, 167,000 Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 29,000 American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • From 2000 to 2010, the number of Hispanic and black first-time freshmen grew by 110% and 65%, respectively. In comparison, first-time freshmen enrollment increased by 33% among Asians/Pacific Islanders, 30% among American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 10% among whites.
  • Hispanics’ proportion of first-time freshmen rose from 10% in 2000 to 16% in 2010, and blacks’ proportion rose from 12% to 15% over the period.
  • Asians/Pacific Islanders made up 5% of first-time freshmen in both 2000 and 2010, and American Indians/Alaska Natives were a little less than 1% in both years.
  • The percentage of whites among first-time freshmen fell from 67% in 2000 to 55% in 2010.