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Postsecondary enrollment data represent the overall participation of individuals in our state’s postsecondary education system. 

Recent high school graduates are a large and important source of enrollments; however, the enrollment of adult students is also critical to reaching the attainment goal. Many adult students face additional enrollment challenges, including the need to prioritize time and resources related to responsibilities for family, dependents, work, and career transitions. 

Postsecondary Enrollment Dashboards

Fall Enrollment by Level Over Time

Washington’s postsecondary enrollment trends are mixed.  The number of high school graduates enrolling immediately in college has remained steady in this five-year period.[1]  However, consistent with previous economic recoveries[2], enrollments are down slightly overall.  Enrollments in less-than-two-year programs experienced the largest decline, while four-year college enrollments have increased.

Source: WSAC staff analysis of IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2017). Next Update: Q1 2019.

Notes: All types of undergraduate and graduate students, at both public and private institutions are included. Counts are for students who enrolled in the fall term. It is important to note that nationally, about 35% of enrollments into community colleges occur outside of the fall. See Voight, J. A., and Voight, M., (2016). Toward Convergence: A Technical Guide for the Postsecondary Metrics Framework, Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Fall Enrollment Distribution by Level

Percentage of Total Fall Enrollments by Enrollment Level

Source: WSAC staff analysis of IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2017). Next Update: Q1 2019.

Fall Enrollment Distribution by Demographic Subgroup

Percentage of Fall Enrollments by Race and Ethnicity

Source: WSAC staff analysis of IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2017). Next Update: Q1 2019.

5-Year Change in Fall Enrollment Demographics

Five-Year Change in Fall Enrollments by Race/Ethnicity

Source: WSAC staff analysis of IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2017). Next Update: Q1 2019.

Note: These data capture only first-time, full-time fall enrollments, and is thus likely to undercount enrollments of part-time students.

Fall Enrollment Demographic: Trends Over Time  

Fall Enrollment of Students at Washington Institutions Over Time 

Source: WSAC staff analysis of IPEDS Fall Enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education (September 2017). Next Update: Q1 2019.

Notes: Because the Census spans multiple years, as a proxy, WSAC examined the growth in the Hispanic enrollments in the K-12 system as displayed in the OSPI Report Card, 2012-13 through 2015-16. Hispanic enrollments grew from 214,144 in October of 2012 to 251,334 in 2016, a 17% increase. The option to report 2 or more races was was voluntary in 2008 and became mandatory in 2010. Anecdotal evidence suggests some of the decline in Native Americans may be a reporting artifact.  The Census Bureau notes that Asian and mixed-race people are the two fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population. Non-Hispanic whites’ birth rates continue to be outpaced by death rates, leading to a shrinking non-Hispanic white population. Census Bureau, June 22, 2017. Release Number. CB17-100.

Apprenticeship Enrollments

Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) and related classroom instruction under the supervision of experienced craft persons or trade professionals. Greater job-demand has supported growth in apprenticeship enrollment.

Source: WTB Analysis of Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship section data. Next Update: Q1 2019.

Notes

[1] Education and Research Data Center, (2015). High School Feedback Report, 2015, The Office of Financial Management, Washington State.

[2] National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, (2017) Enrollment Trends, and Current Term Enrollment Estimates, Spring 2017; Inside Higher Education, (2017) “Enrollment Continue to Slide at For-Profits and Community Colleges.” by Paul Fain and Inside Higher Education, (2013) “Enrollment Decline Picks Up Speed.” by Doug Lederman.