Who Goes To College?

College campuses are becoming more diverse as more people recognize it can be a path to more earning potential. Not only is gender and ethnic diversity increasing, but more and more adults are choosing to go to college.

Who Goes to College? – College can be a Rewarding Experience for Anyone

More and more people are viewing college as the path to personal and professional growth. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of people participating in adult education has steadily increased.

The National Center for Education Statistics defines adult education activities as, “formal activities including basic skills training, apprenticeships, work-related courses, personal interest courses, English as a Second Language classes, and part-time college or university degree programs.”

Who Goes to College? – The Changing Composition of College Campuses

Clearly more adults are participating in higher education, however the demographic profile of who goes to college is also changing. Once viewed as an institution for well-to-do white males, the percentage of females and minorities earning degrees is increasing dramatically. In fact, more females are enrolled in degree-granting institutions than males, and it has been that way since 1980. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of enrollment in degree-granting institutions among different ethnic groups has increased steadily since 1976:

  • African Americans increased from 9.4 percent of enrollment to 13.1 percent
  • Hispanics increased from 3.5 percent to 11.4 percent
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders increased from 1.8 percent to 6.7 percent
  • American Indian/Alaska Native increased from .7 percent to 1 percent

You can find similar increases in diversity at all levels of higher education. As a college degree becomes more important in the job market that answer to the question “who goes to college?” is anyone!


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