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June 17, 2010 1:27 PM Higher College Enrollment Mostly Due to Minorities

By Daniel Luzer

Despite, or perhaps because of, the recession Americans still keep going to college. In fact, the six percent increase in college enrollment in 2008 was the largest increase in 40 years. According to an Associated Press article by Hope Yen:

Newly released government figures show that freshman enrollment surged 6 percent in 2008 to a record 2.6 million, mostly due to rising minority enrollment. That is the highest increase since 1968 during the height of the Vietnam War, when young adults who attended college could avoid the military draft.
Almost three-quarters of the freshman increases in 2008 were minorities, of which the largest share was Hispanics.

Most of this minority increase (Hispanic enrollment grew 15 percent, black enrollment grew 8 percent, Asian enrollment grew 6 percent) happened at community colleges and trade schools. Two-year schools’ freshmen enrollment increased 11 percent. Freshmen enrollment at traditional schools grew only four percent.

Much of this information comes from a report released by the Pew Research Center yesterday. Access the full report here.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer