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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indicator 7.1: Enrollment in Colleges and Universities

Figure 7.1. American Indian/Alaska Native enrollment in public and private degree-granting institutions, by type of institution and sex: Selected years, 1976 to 2002
American Indian/Alaska Native enrollment in public and private degree-granting institutions, by type of institution and sex: Selected years, 1976 to 2002
NOTE: Data from 1976 to 1996 are for institutions of higher education that were accredited by an agency or association that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or recognized directly by the Secretary of Education. Data from 1996 and later years are for degree-granting institutions. The new degree-granting classification is very similar to the earlier higher education classification, except that it includes someadditional institutions, primarily 2-year colleges, and excludes a few higher education institutions that did not award associate or higher degrees. Data for 1999 were imputed using alternative procedures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2004 (forthcoming), based on Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), "Fall Enrollment in Colleges and Universities" surveys; and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Fall Enrollment" surveys, 1976 to 1999, and Spring 2001 through Spring 2003 surveys.

Enrollment of American Indian/Alaska Native students in colleges and universities more than doubled in the past 25 years. American Indian/Alaska Native students accounted for 1 percent of the 2002 total enrollment.

American Indian/Alaska Native enrollment in public and private degree-granting institutions more than doubled between 1976 and 2002. In 1976, about 76,100 American Indians/Alaska Natives were enrolled in colleges and universities. Enrollment grew steadily from 1976 and reached 102,800 in 1990. During the 1990s enrollments continued to increase, and by 2002 almost 166,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students were enrolled in higher education (appendix table A-7.1a).

More than half of the American Indian/Alaska Native students were enrolled in 4-year degree-granting institutions in 2002. Between 1976 and 1994, more American Indians/Alaska Natives were enrolled in 2-year postsecondary institutions than in 4-year postsecondary institutions. During the mid-1990s, the number in 4-year institutions began to surpass the number in 2-year institutions (appendix table A-7.1a).

Between 1976 and 2002, college and university enrollment of male and female American Indians/Alaska Natives grew at different rates. In 1976, there was near parity in the number of American Indian/Alaska Native males and females enrolled in degree-granting colleges and universities (38,500 and 37,600, respectively). By 1978, the number of females enrolled exceeded, and has continued to grow more quickly than, the number of males enrolled. By 2002, there were 100,200 American Indian/Alaska Native females and 65,700 men enrolled in colleges and universities, a difference of 20 percentage points. Only among Blacks was there a gender gap larger than that among American Indians/Alaska Natives; 28 percentage points separated the percentages of enrollment for Black females (64 percent) and males (36 percent) in 2002 (appendix tables A-7.1a and A-7.1b).

Despite more American Indians/Alaska Natives enrolling in college and university than ever before, American Indians/Alaska Natives composed only about 1 percent of the total college and university enrollment in 2002, an increase from 0.7 percent in 1976. College and university enrollment became much more diverse over these years. Minorities, including American Indians/Alaska Natives, represented 16 percent of the total enrollment in 1976, whereas they represented 30 percent of the total enrollment in 2002.

In 2003, American Indians/Alaska Natives between the ages of 18 and 24 were less likely to be enrolled in a college or university than their White, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black peers. Eighteen percent of American Indian/Alaska Native 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in a college or university, compared with 42 percent of Whites, 60 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 32 percent of Blacks.

View Table View Table 7.1a

View Table View Table 7.1b



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