More People Going to College

Does this mean we’re doing something right?

College attendance rates are higher than ever. According to a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Over the last generation, students of all racial and ethnic groups increased their college-going rates by double-digit percentage points, and also increasingly went directly from high school to college, according to a report out today from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

They aren’t all going to the same colleges, however. Minority students tend mostly to attend public colleges and universities. Black students, interestingly enough, were disproportionately enrolled in for-profit schools. Some 15 percent of black students went to for-profit institutions, which are mostly open admission. This is a higher percentage than any other group.

While every racial group is going to college at higher rates than in 1980, some groups increase college participation more than others. According to the report, “Hispanics and Asians… had the fastest rates of increase and Whites had the slowest rate of increase.”

Almost 44 percent of white 18- to 24-year-olds attend college (up from 28 percent in 1980). About 32 percent of black 18- to 24-year-olds attend college (up from 20 percent in 1980). Some 26 percent of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds are in college (up from 16 percent in 1980). In 2008 58 percent of all 18- to 24-year old Asians were enrolled in college.

Whether they finish, however, is another story.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer