Report Focuses on Impact of Surging Enrollments
The surging enrollments in primary and secondary schools will begin to make an impact on colleges and universities within a few years, officials at the U.S. Department of Education say in their annual back-to-school report.
A record 53 million students will be in public and private K-12 schools this fall, and the department’s projections show a 10 percent increase in the number of high school graduates during the next decade. As a result of these trends, enrollments of full-time students in colleges and universities will increase by nearly 20 percent during the next decade.
While the enrollment increases are a long-term challenge for colleges, they are an immediate problem for many low-income schools with old facilities and overcrowded classrooms, the report says.
“We need to figure out where we will put these children, and who will teach them,” Education Secretary Richard W. Riley says.
The report, titled Growing Pains: The Challenge of Overcrowded Schools Here to Stay, says that given the enrollment increases and an expected wave of teacher retirements by 2010, the nation also will need to train an extra 2.2 million teachers to meet current demands. The complete report is on the department’s Web site at <http://www.ed.gov>.
Meanwhile, a separate report by the department, Projections of Education Statistics to 2010, calculates that a record 15.1 million students will enroll in college or graduate school this fall. And by 2010, that number will climb to 17.5 million, largely due to a surge in the number of college-age students.
That means that associate’s and bachelor’s degree attainment also will climb, says the report, noting that postbaccalaureate degree attainment likely will decline until the year 2003, when it too will rise.
And inevitably, more students translates into more dollars for higher education, the report says. Some $235.4 billion is expected to be spent on higher education this year, but by the 2009-2010 academic year, the report’s authors expect that number to soar to $302.6 billion — an increase of 29 percent even after inflation.
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