Graduate Enrollment and Gender:
A Changing Landscape

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Series: Changing How We Understand the Market
In this series, we analyze current enrollment and demographics data, uncovering stories that challenge how institutions often understand their marketplace—or that shed new light on emerging trends. We want to encourage a deeper look at the implications of today’s marketplace data. We hope that you will share these stories across your institution and use them to start critical conversations to drive not only enrollment strategy but discussions of curricular offerings, student support, and course design. While we’ll highlight findings and stories worthy of closer attention, each article includes an easy-to-use Tableau dashboard that you and your colleagues can use to drill deep in the data yourself.

Also in this series:
Yield Rates are Declining - Why?
Is the International Enrollment Boom a Rising Tide that Lifts All Ships?
How Simpson's Index Can Offer Universities a Different Look at Diversity
Why Measuring Diversity Matters

By Jon Boeckenstedt (DePaul University)

The rise in undergraduate enrollment in the United States has been well documented and much discussed: Between 1980 and 2010, for instance, undergraduate enrollment rose almost 74%, far outstripping the growth (about 2%) in traditional-age college students in the US.  There are likely several factors contributing to this surge, including economic growth; population growth; the belief in the value of a college degree; and the willingness of colleges to branch into new markets, such as older and/or returning students, and international students; and, to a lesser extent, some advances in technology that made distance education more available and more convenient to students.

Less has been written about graduate enrollment, and although its growth is less out-of-proportion to population growth in the US, the increases have still been dramatic: While the population of US citizens aged 25-39 grew almost 20% over the 30 years between 1980 and 2010, graduate enrollment growth in the US grew by almost 85%, and eventually, by 2014, by 90%.  Like the trends with undergraduate enrollment, this trend is also likely due to a combination of several factors, not the least of which is the growth of offerings at American colleges and universities, where the MBA is virtually ubiquitous.


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