College Enrollment Stays Flat, Continuing a Decade-Long Trend

MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF 2018 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities the following fall, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, continuing the relatively flat college enrollment rate of the last decade at a time when the higher education industry is under pressure from shifting workforce demands and many institutions are reporting dwindling enrollment.

n October 2018, 69% of 16- to 24-year-olds who graduated high school in 2018 were enrolled, with 9 out of 10 reporting they were full-time students – a marginal increase over 2017 high school graduates, 67% of whom were enrolled in college or university. Over the last decade, that figure has fluctuated between 66% and 70%.

Last year marked the first time the report included employment data among recent degree recipients age 20 to 29, finding that 78% of those who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2017 were employed. But this year that figure is 6 percentage points lower, with the bureau reporting just 72 percent of those who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2018 were employed.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree was 12.9 percent in October 2018.

The employment statistic fluctuates by degree level, with 75 percent of recent associate degree recipients and 81 percent of advanced degree recipients employed.

The report also documents high-school dropouts, finding that between October 2017 and October 2018, 527,000 young people dropped out of high school. Notably, the labor force participation rate for recent dropouts, which was at 47%, was much lower than the rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college, 74%.

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Lauren Camera, Education Reporter

Lauren Camera is an education reporter at U.S. News & World Report. She’s covered education … READ MORE

Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, colleges, college admissions, college applications, education, high school, students, employment

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