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By the Numbers: Seeing into the Future: Enrollment in 2021



​It goes without saying that the students of the future will be different from those of today. But knowing exactly which parts of the demographic spectrum will grow allows college and university leaders to ramp up and tailor their outreach efforts to better serve these students. According to a recent report published in the U.S. Department of Education’s Digest of Education Statistics, approximately 23 million students will be enrolled in postsecondary degree-granting institutions by the fall of 2021. Among them:

  • 42% will be minority students.1

  • 76% will enroll in public institutions.2

  • 59% will be women.

  • Hispanic students will surpass African American student enrollment by 2 percent by fall 20213 and will be the largest minority student group enrolled in higher education nationwide.4




1 Minority students are defined as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native.


3 Hispanic students will surpass African American student enrollment by approximately 94,000.

4 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), “Fall Enrollment Survey” (IPEDS-EF:96–99); IPEDS Spring 2001 through Spring 2011, Enrollment Component; and Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions by Race/Ethnicity Model, 1980–2010.


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