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Table 245. Course enrollments in languages other than English compared with total enrollment at postsecondary degree-granting institutions, by enrollment level, institution level, and language: Selected years, 1965 through 2009
Enrollment level, institution level, and language 1965 1970 1974 1980 1986 1990 1995 2002 20061 2009 Percent change
1965 to 1974 1974 to 1986 1986 to 1995 1986 to 2006 2006 to 2009
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Number of language course enrollments                              
                               
All levels, institutions, and
   languages
1,059,258 1,153,747 946,389 924,352 1,003,548 1,185,555 1,138,772 1,397,253 1,577,810 1,682,627 -10.7 6.0 13.5 57.2 6.6
                               
Undergraduate 904,498 892,290 970,382 1,149,713 1,100,095 1,360,538 1,536,840 1,644,390 7.3 13.4 58.4 7.0
2-year institutions 154,466 162,881 228,420 236,702 350,297 366,282 417,448 5.4 45.3 124.9 14.0
4-year institutions 750,277 807,084 920,092 863,393 1,010,297 1,170,558 1,226,481 7.6 7.0 45.0 4.8
Graduate 41,892 32,062 33,269 35,628 38,677 36,715 40,970 38,237 -20.6 16.3 23.1 -6.7
                               
American Sign Language 1,602 4,304 60,781 78,829 91,763 16.4
Arabic 911 2,034 3,471 3,417 3,683 4,444 10,584 23,974 35,083 123.3 68.0 30.1 601.6 46.3
Chinese 3,359 10,576 11,366 16,892 19,427 26,471 34,153 51,582 60,976 214.9 59.7 56.7 205.4 18.2
French 371,735 358,617 253,208 248,307 275,235 273,143 205,351 201,979 206,426 216,419 -31.9 8.7 -25.4 -25.0 4.8
German 213,909 201,928 152,119 127,015 121,065 133,594 96,263 91,100 94,264 96,349 -28.9 -20.4 -20.5 -22.1 2.2
Greek, Ancient2  19,495 16,643 24,283 22,132 17,806 16,414 16,272 20,376 22,849 20,695 24.6 -26.7 -8.6 28.3 -9.4
Hebrew3 8,093 22,371 19,290 15,669 12,966 13,127 22,802 23,752 22,052 176.4 -30.0 -16.2 51.6 -7.2
Italian 22,950 34,236 33,048 34,796 40,904 49,843 43,760 63,899 78,368 80,752 44.0 23.8 7.0 91.6 3.0
Japanese 3,505 9,604 11,516 23,457 45,830 44,723 52,238 66,605 73,434 174.0 144.2 90.7 183.9 10.3
Korean 82 87 365 875 2,375 3,343 5,211 7,145 8,511 6.1 905.7 282.1 716.6 19.1
Latin 38,038 28,452 25,167 25,019 25,038 28,178 25,897 29,841 32,191 32,606 -33.8 -0.5 3.4 28.6 1.3
Portuguese 3,040 5,072 4,894 5,071 6,118 6,531 8,385 10,267 11,371 66.8 # 28.8 102.5 10.8
Russian 33,818 36,369 32,522 23,987 33,945 44,476 24,729 23,921 24,845 26,883 -3.8 4.4 -27.1 -26.8 8.2
Spanish 310,015 386,709 361,911 378,960 411,499 534,182 606,286 746,267 822,985 864,986 16.7 13.7 47.3 100.0 5.1
Other languages 30,308 90,793 14,387 13,234 12,675 13,724 17,271 25,716 33,728 40,747 -52.5 -11.9 36.3 166.1 20.8
                               
Total enrollment at degree-granting
   institutions
                             
                               
All levels 5,920,864 8,580,887 10,223,729 12,096,895 12,503,511 13,818,637 14,261,781 16,611,711 17,758,870 20,427,711 72.7 22.3 14.1 42.0 15.0
Undergraduate 7,368,644 8,798,728 10,475,055 10,797,975 11,959,106 12,231,719 14,257,077 15,184,302 17,565,320 22.7 13.3 40.6 15.7
2-year institutions 2,318,956 3,402,732 4,525,097 4,679,548 5,240,083 5,492,098 6,529,198 6,518,291 7,521,405 37.5 17.4 39.3 15.4
4-year institutions 5,049,688 5,395,996 5,949,958 6,118,427 6,719,023 6,739,621 7,727,879 8,666,011 10,043,915 13.4 10.2 41.6 15.9
Graduate 1,212,243 1,425,001 1,621,840 1,705,536 1,859,531 2,030,062 2,354,634 2,574,568 2,862,391 19.7 19.0 51.0 11.2
                      Change in percentage points
Number of language course enrollments
   per 100 students enrolled
                             
                               
All levels 17.9 13.4 9.3 7.6 8.0 8.6 8.0 8.4 8.9 8.2 -8.6 -1.2 # 0.9 -0.6
Undergraduate 10.3 8.5 9.0 9.6 9.0 9.5 10.1 9.4 -1.3 # 1.1 -0.8
2-year institutions 4.5 0.0 3.5 4.4 4.3 5.4 5.6 5.6 -1.1 0.8 2.1 -0.1
4-year institutions 13.9 0.0 13.2 13.7 12.8 13.1 13.5 12.2 -0.7 -0.4 0.3 -1.3
Graduate 2.9 2.0 2.0 1.9 1.9 1.6 1.6 1.3 -1.0 # -0.4 -0.3
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
1 In 2006, a few 2-year institutions reported a total of 226 graduate course enrollments (86 in Spanish and 140 in American Sign Language). In this table, these 226 enrollments are shown as undergraduate enrollments in 2-year institutions; these enrollments are not included under graduate enrollments.
2 The apparent drop in Ancient Greek from 2006 to 2009 may be attributed to changes in reporting. Some premodern Greek language categories, such as Koine Greek and Old Testament Greek, were reported for the first time in 2009. In previous surveys, these languages may have been reported under the category "Ancient Greek."
3 For 1990 and later years, includes only “Modern Hebrew” and “Biblical Hebrew”; other reported categories of Hebrew courses are excluded.
NOTE: The number of course enrollments is not the same as the number of students studying a given language. A single student majoring in a language may be enrolled in more than one class in that language. Unless otherwise noted, enrollments do not include those in classical, religious, or regional dialects of the language. Data through 1995 are for institutions of higher education, while later data are for degree-granting institutions. Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. The degree-granting classification is very similar to the earlier higher education classification, but it includes more 2-year colleges and excludes a few higher education institutions that did not grant degrees. (See Appendix A: Guide to Sources for details.)
SOURCE: The Modern Language Association of America, Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2009, Table 2c; and MLA historical enrollment data, 1958-70, 1971-86, 1990-98, and 2002-09, retrieved July 21, 2011, from http://www.mla.org/about_search_flsurvey. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Opening Fall Enrollment in Higher Education, 1965; Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), "Fall Enrollment in Institutions of Higher Education" surveys, 1970 through 1980; Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Fall Enrollment Survey" (IPEDS-EF:86-95); and IPEDS Spring 2003 through Spring 2010, Enrollment component. (This table was prepared July 2011.)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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