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Enrollment Growth at For-Profits Continues to Outpace Other Sectors

August 9, 2005

For the eighth consecutive year, the percentage increase in fall enrollment at independent, for-profit, degree-granting Title IV institutions outpaced the fall enrollment at both public and independent not-for-profit, degree-granting Title IV institutions. From fall 2002 to fall 2003, enrollment at independent, for-profit, degree-granting institutions increased 18 percent compared with a 1 percent increase in fall enrollment at public degree-granting institutions and a 2 percent increase at independent, not-for-profit, degree-granting institutions. Even more striking, over the course of a decade, fall enrollment at independent, for-profit, degree-granting institutions more than doubled while enrollment at public degree-granting institutions increased 13 percent and enrollment at independent, not-for-profit, degree-granting institutions increased 17 percent. 

Other findings include:

  • Three-quarters of full-time, first-time undergraduate students who attended an independent for-profit institution during the 2002-03 academic year received federal grants compared with 49 percent at public institutions and 37 percent at independent, not-for-profit institutions.

  • Eighty-one percent of full-time, first-time undergraduate students at independent for-profit institutions took out student loans, while 45 percent of students at public institutions and 69 percent of students at independent institutions borrowed during the 2002-03 academic year.

These findings are based on NACUBO’s analysis of data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics and recently released in the report Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2003; Graduation Rates 1997 & 2000 Cohorts; and Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2003, as well as NCES enrollment data from prior years.

For additional research on enrollment and financial aid, see the NACUBO Research Web pages.