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Digest of Education Statistics
2017 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 311.70. Course enrollments in languages other than English compared with total enrollment at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by enrollment level, institution level, and language: Selected years, 1965 through 2013
Enrollment level, institution level, and language 1965 1970 1974 1980 1986 1990 1995 2002 2006 2009 2013 Percent change
1965 to
1974
1974 to
1986
1986 to
1995
1995 to
2006
2006 to
2013
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
                                 
Number of language course enrollments                                
All levels, institutions,
      and languages
1,034,651 1,153,239 946,310 924,337 1,003,173 1,185,465 1,138,772 1,395,807 1,575,715 1,673,543 1,562,179 -8.5 6.0 13.5 38.4 -0.9
                                 
Undergraduate 904,419 892,275 970,007 1,149,634 1,100,103 1,359,145 1,534,590 1,636,016 1,527,415 7.3 13.4 39.5 -0.5
2-year institutions 154,713 162,716 161,683 227,625 233,123 337,304 364,857 393,060 343,367 4.5 44.2 56.5 -5.9
4-year institutions 749,706 729,559 808,324 922,009 866,980 1,021,841 1,169,733 1,242,956 1,184,048 7.8 7.3 34.9 1.2
Graduate 41,891 32,062 33,166 35,831 38,669 36,662 41,125 37,527 34,764 -20.8 16.6 6.4 -15.5
                                 
American Sign Language 1,602 4,304 60,781 79,708 92,072 109,577 1,752.0 37.5
Arabic 911 1,324 2,034 3,471 3,417 3,683 4,444 10,584 23,987 34,908 32,859 123.3 68.0 30.1 439.8 37.0
Chinese1 3,359 6,265 10,662 11,405 17,002 19,510 26,504 34,333 51,559 61,797 62,251 217.4 59.5 55.9 94.5 20.7
French 371,747 358,494 253,135 248,303 275,132 273,116 205,351 201,985 206,014 215,244 197,757 -31.9 8.7 -25.4 0.3 -4.0
German 213,909 201,766 152,113 127,015 120,920 133,594 96,263 91,100 94,147 95,628 86,700 -28.9 -20.5 -20.4 -2.2 -7.9
Greek, Ancient2 19,495 16,543 24,283 22,132 17,806 16,414 16,272 20,376 22,831 20,040 12,917 24.6 -26.7 -8.6 40.3 -43.4
Hebrew3 8,093 16,567 22,371 19,290 15,669 12,966 13,083 22,774 23,739 22,656 19,824 176.4 -30.0 -16.5 81.4 -16.5
Italian 22,950 34,236 33,048 34,793 40,904 49,824 43,760 63,899 78,176 80,322 71,285 44.0 23.8 7.0 78.6 -8.8
Japanese 3,505 6,620 9,604 11,516 23,454 45,830 44,723 52,238 65,403 72,359 66,740 174.0 144.2 90.7 46.2 2.0
Korean 82 101 87 365 875 2,375 3,343 5,211 7,146 8,449 12,229 6.1 905.7 282.1 113.8 71.1
Latin 38,043 28,422 25,167 25,019 25,038 28,178 25,897 29,841 32,164 32,444 27,192 -33.8 -0.5 3.4 24.2 -15.5
Portuguese 3,040 5,065 5,072 4,894 5,071 6,118 6,531 8,385 10,310 11,273 12,415 66.8 # 28.8 57.9 20.4
Russian 33,818 36,369 32,522 23,987 33,945 44,476 24,729 23,921 24,770 26,753 21,962 -3.8 4.4 -27.1 0.2 -11.3
Spanish 310,012 386,617 361,911 378,952 411,376 534,143 606,286 745,215 822,094 861,008 790,756 16.7 13.7 47.4 35.6 -3.8
Other languages 5,687 54,850 14,301 13,195 12,564 13,636 17,282 25,164 33,667 38,590 37,715 151.5 -12.1 37.6 94.8 12.0
                                 
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 20,313,594 20,375,789 72.7 22.3 14.1 42.0 14.7
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 17,464,179 17,474,835 22.7 13.3 40.6 15.1
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 7,522,581 6,968,739 37.5 17.4 39.3 6.9
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 9,941,598 10,506,096 13.4 10.2 41.6 21.2
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 2,849,415 2,900,954 19.7 19.0 51.0 12.7
                        Change in percentage points
Number of language course enrollments
      per 100 students enrolled
                     
All levels 17.5 13.4 9.3 7.6 8.0 8.6 8.0 8.4 8.9 8.2 7.7 -8.2 -1.2 # 0.9 -1.2
Undergraduate 10.3 8.5 9.0 9.6 9.0 9.5 10.1 9.4 8.7 -1.3 # 1.1 -1.4
2-year institutions 4.5 3.6 3.5 4.3 4.2 5.2 5.6 5.2 4.9 -1.1 0.8 1.4 -0.7
4-year institutions 13.9 12.3 13.2 13.7 12.9 13.2 13.5 12.5 11.3 -0.7 -0.3 0.6 -2.2
Graduate 2.9 2.0 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.2 -1.0 # -0.3 -0.4
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
1 Includes Cantonese and Mandarin.
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 1986 and later years, includes Hebrew, 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. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: The Modern Language Association of America, Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013, Table 2d; and MLA historical enrollment data, selected years, 1965 through 2013, retrieved April 14, 2016, 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 2015, Fall Enrollment component. (This table was prepared April 2016.)

2017 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest