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Analysts Forecast Boom In Minority College Enrollment

Minority enrollment at postsecondary institutions is slated to see some significant increases over the next 10 years, analysts say. It is projected to increase 140 percent between 2005, the last year of actual data, and 2016, according to moderate projections by researchers at the National Center for Education Statistics.

In its annual report, “Projections of Education,” NCES researchers note that total enrollment at degree-granting institutions is expected to increase 14 percent by lowest estimates, 17 by moderate projections and 19 percent by their highest projections.

From 1991 to 2005, total enrollment at degree-granting institutions increased 22 percent.

NCES factors in different variables for each projection. Moderate projections use a base-line scenario of the economy for projections of disposable income and unemployment rates. The low and high alternatives are based on the low and high scenarios of the economy to provide other possible outcomes.

During the designated 11-year period between 2005 and 2016, moderate projections show an increase of 7 percent among students 35 years of age and older. The matriculation of traditional students, those 18 to 24, is expected to see a 15 percent increase.

By race and ethnicity, enrollment for all historically disadvantaged groups is projected to increase. Hispanic student enrollment will see the largest increase at 45 percent, followed by American Indian at 34 percent, Asian and Pacific Islander at 32 percent and African-American at 29 percent. Enrollment for White students is projected to increase by only 8 percent.

Increases are expected in the numbers of degrees awarded to women at all levels. Enrollment among women in degree-granting institutions is expected to surge 22 percent. During the 2004-05 academic year, women earned the majority of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees; 49 percent of doctorates and slightly less than 50 percent of first professional degrees.

Between 2004-05 and 2016-17, the number of doctoral degrees is projected to increase 10 percent for men and 54 percent for women.

The report also reveals that the number of all high school graduates is estimated to increase nationally by 5 percent. The number of public high school graduates increased 25 percent between 1991 and 2003, the last year of available data. Researchers project an additional 6 percent increase between 2003 and 2016.

The number of high school graduates from private schools is expected to decline over the same time period. However, further research is needed to develop reliable projections of private school enrollment and graduates.

–Michelle J. Nealy

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