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Applications and Enrollments Hit New Highs

May 30, 2006

College applications surged in 2005, after a slight decrease in 2004 for the first time since 1999.   According to an annual report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of colleges experienced an increase in applications. A considerable jump in the population of high school graduates, many of whom were applying online and to multiple colleges, was the primary driver of this increase.  NACAC predicts that growth in the number of applicants will continue until at least 2014.  Furthermore, of the more than 3 million high school graduates contributing to the increase in applications, over 60 percent actually enrolled at a college or university. 

Additional highlights from the report include:   

  • Despite the competitive environment, colleges accepted 70 percent of applicants.  The proportion of admitted students that actually enrolled was 50 percent.
  • More than half (53 percent) of all applications were submitted online, an increase from 47 percent in 2004 and 35 percent in 2003. 
  • The number of students submitting three or more applications has risen from 60 to 70 percent over the past decade.
  • An average of $442 was spent to recruit each applicant. The average recruitment expenses per applicant at public and independent colleges are $217 and $533, respectively. 

The report, State of College Admission, can be downloaded at no cost on the National Association for College Admission Counseling Web site.