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By The Numbers:
Higher Education—Then and Now

July/August 2016

By Kenneth E. Redd

A lot can happen in five or six decades. Following are some notable trends in college and university enrollments, finances, and staffing since the early 1960s.


Student Enrollments and Degrees

The total number of degree-granting colleges and universities (including branch campuses) grew from 3,004 in academic year 1974–75 to 4,599 in 2010–11. Student enrollment experienced similar increases—as well as ethnic, gender, and other variances along the way.

College Prices and Financial Aid

Student loans are a hot topic, as studies have shown total student debt in the United States to have reached the trillion-dollar mark. As a percentage of total financial aid, student loans have grown from 29 percent in 1970–71 to 48 percent in 2010–11. Here are some other relevant numbers.

KENNETH E. REDD is director of research and policy analysis at NACUBO.

Source: Excerpted from “Higher Education—Then and Now,” July/August 2012 Business Officer