Saturday, April 5, 2008

Will Less Millennials Fill Our Classrooms?

As everyone that subscribes to this blog knows...I LOVE the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE). This weekly periodical enables anyone to examine the issues affecting colleges and universities. In the past few weeks, CHE focused on the entering freshman classes that are graduating from high school from this year to 2022. The CHE article promotes a report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) titled, "KNOCKING AT THE COLLEGE DOOR: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity 1992-2022". This March 2008 report (as reported in the CHE's - Student Pool Is Expected to Dip and Diversify by Elyse Ashburn) featured such projections as:

The Number of High School Graduates is Projected to Steadily Decrease
After this year's high school seniors receive their diplomas, the number of graduates nationwide will begin a slow decline until 2015.

The High School Graduating Class is Projected to Become More Diverse
The number of minority graduates is expected to grow rapidly as Hispanic and Asian students replace white ones.
Nationwide, the number of high-school graduates is expected to peak this year — a year earlier than previously thought — at 3.34 million, according to the commission. The number of graduates is expected to start growing again in 2015, it says, when the rapidly growing Hispanic and Asian populations will begin pushing that number to new highs.

By 2022 almost half of all public high-school graduates will be members of minority groups — with Hispanics alone making up a quarter — according to the commission. If those graduates go on to college, many of them will also be the first in their families to do so.

My Analysis
One may predict that since the number of high school graduates is decreasing and this graduating class is becoming more diverse, then the incoming freshmen classes will be slightly smaller and more diverse. This may be good for college students, because they may have a more college experience with a more diverse student population. However, one may project that colleges and universities will experience lower enrollment rates. Consequently, colleges and universities may start actively recruiting non-traditional students. Please let me know what you think about this post.


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