The Census Bureau's Higher Ed Statistics

The U.S. Census Department released a grab bag of education statistics this week. You might discover some surprising ones in this list:

18.4 million
That’s the number of students who will be attending the nation’s colleges and universities this fall. If that seems like a lot of kids, it is. Twenty years ago, 13.5 million students were attending college.

8.6 million
Number of people who hold a bachelor’s degree in business. More people are majoring in business today than in any other field. The other most popular majors today, in order, are psychology, education, biology and nursing. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the most common majors were English, philosophy and history. Today’s students are obviously much more focused on training for careers.

Percentage of all college students who are at least 25 years old. That might seem like a lot, but it’s taking longer for students to graduate from college. What’s more, many Americans are starting college later after they conclude that a college degree is worth the academic and financial hassle.

Percentage of 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in college in 2006. With all the anxiety swirling around college admissions today, I bet many people would have guessed this percentage would be higher.

Percentage of undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges. About 80% of these students are attending school full time.

Percentage of undergraduates who are women. At many schools the enrollment figures are slanted even heavier towards women. This reality is making it easier for some male students to win acceptances to selective schools even when they are academically weaker than their female peers.

5.6 years
Average amount of time it takes a student to complete bachelor’s degrees. It takes 4.4 years to complete a two-year associate’s degree.

Number of institutions of higher learning that grant college degrees. Ignore the selectivity hype. There are plenty of colleges out there for any kind of students, regardless of their abilities.

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