Enrollment at For-Profit Colleges Rose 25 Percent in 2009

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College enrollment rose more than 7 percent in the 2009-2010 school year, rising from 19.6 million in the fall of 2008 to almost 21 million in 2009, with the great increase in enrollment – more than 25 percent –at for-profit colleges, where enrollment jumped from more than 1.8 million in 2008 to more than 2.2 million in 2009.

Beginning last fall, for-profit colleges enrolled more than 10 percent of U.S. college students, according to data released today in the First Look publication of the Institute for Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics entitled Enrollment in Postsecondary Education Institutions, Fall 2009.

The statistics are not provided for individual schools, but presented by type of school – such as public, private not for profit and private for-profit – and whether the students are undergraduates or graduates.

Public college enrollments rose about 6 percent and private not for profit colleges had less than a 4 percent increase in enrollment.

The overall graduation rate for students completing requirements for bachelor’s degrees in four years was just 36.7 percent, up from 34.6 percent, with private not for profit schools leading the way with a graduate rate of 51.5, up slights from 51 percent.  Public schools had an overall graduation rate of 30.7 percentage, up from 29.9 percent over the same period and for-profit schools trailed at 12.7 percent, down from 14.2 percent.

On the other hand, for-profit colleges had the a graduation rate of 36.4 percent for students completing requirements for two-year degrees in two years, just below the 38.6 percent graduation rate for  students at private not for profit schools, and just 11.9 percent in public school programs.

Calculating graduation rates for students who completed their two-year programs within four years, the rate for students at for-profit schools soared to 63.3 percent, just ahead of the 58.5 percent graduation rate for private not-for-profit schools, both of which were far above the public school two year-degree graduation rate of 28.1

Financial information in the report is from the 2008-2009 school year. The results: “Proportions of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates reported by institutions to be receiving aid in academic year 2008-09 varied by institution sector: 79 percent of those attending public 4-year institutions; 87 percent of those attending private not-for-profit 4-year institutions; and 86 percent of those attending private for-profit 4-year institutions received some type of financial aid (table 11).

“…Borrowing varied by institution sector: 47 percent of those attending public fiy4-year institutions; 61 percent of those attending private not-for-profit 4-year institutions; and 81 percent of those attending private for-profit 4-year institutions borrowed through an education loan program during the 2008-09 academic year.