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Projections of Education Statistics to 2017

NCES 2008-078
September 2008

Section 2. Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions: Introduction

Total enrollment in degree-granting institutions is expected to increase between 2006, the last year of actual data, and 2017. Degree-granting institutions are postsecondary institutions that provide study beyond secondary school and offer programs terminating in an associate's, baccalaureate, or higher degree. Differential growth is expected by student characteristics such as age, sex, and attendance status (part-time or full-time). Enrollment is expected to increase in both public and private degree-granting institutions.

Factors affecting the projections

Changes in age-specific enrollment rates and college-age populations will affect enrollment levels between 2006 and 2017. An important factor is the expected increase in the population of 25-to 29-year-olds (reference figure 8 and appendix table B-4).

Three alternative sets of projections

Middle, low, and high sets of projections were made for total enrollment in degree-granting institutions and for enrollment by age, sex, attendance status, level (undergraduate, graduate, or first-professional), and control of institution.

Factors that were not considered

The enrollment projections do not take into account such factors as the cost of a college education, the economic value of an education, and the impact of distance learning due to technological changes. These factors may produce changes in enrollment levels. The racial/ethnic backgrounds of nonresident aliens are not known.
Assumptions underlying the projections

The middle alternative uses a base-line scenario of the economy for projections of disposable income and unemployment rates. The low and high alternative forecasts are based on variables from alternative economic scenarios that were developed by the economic consulting firm Global Insight, Inc. For more details, see appendix A.

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