42 Remarkable College Student Statistics for 2020

You’ve probably heard this a million times from a million different people: 

“If you want to become someone, you need a college degree.”

Then again, if you look at the numerous counterexamples and some college student statistics, you’d be tempted to think that this is no longer the case.

The thing is:

Many tend to believe that a college degree amounts to little more than a piece of paper. That idea is not only wrong but also harmful, especially when you don’t conduct any research to confirm the authenticity of such claims. 

This stage is where these student statistics come in. 

For some people, getting a college degree may not be a guarantee to the best that life has to offer, but it definitely increases your chances and opens up new opportunities.

Today, we will dig deep to present you with the latest stats and brain facts that will help you to make the best decision to secure your future.

Top College Student Statistics and Facts (Editor’s Pick)

  • Having a college degree is a necessity for 46% of jobs in the United States.
  • Over 14 million high school students are expected to apply for admission to public universities in 2028.
  • California had the largest enrollment, with over 2.4 million students.
  • Harvard University admitted only 1950 students in 2019.
  • The percentage of stress and depression in college students is 42%; Stage of Life statistics revealed.
  • The average cost of public universities is $9,970 yearly for students who live within the state and $25,290 for out-of-state students
  • A year of college can reduce mortality rates by up to 19%.
  • The average college student will owe a debt of $37,000 upon graduation.

General College Student Stats

1. College graduates are less likely to be unemployed.

According to the stats provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for those who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher is significantly lower than that for those who decided not to attend college. College graduates face an unemployment rate of 2.7%, while high school diploma holders can’t find work in 5.2% of the cases.

2. The unemployment rate for young adults is 24.2%.

Although there are some best jobs for college students, finding a job without being educated can be a daunting task. Many companies will require a degree as part of the hiring process for their job openings. This fact is evident in a Stage of Life research, which revealed that the unemployment rate for undergraduate students between the age of 16 and 24 is 16.2%, while that of ages 16 and 28 is 24.2%.

3. Having a college degree is a necessity for 46% of jobs in the United States.

As you have already seen from the previous stats, the number of jobs that demands college graduates continues to grow every day. Current student statistics show that 32% of the job vacancies available in the United States require a bachelor’s or associate degrees, while 14% of them listed a master’s diploma or a Ph.D. as part of their requirements. Almost half of the employment opportunities in the United States are not available for high school students.

4. Workers with a bachelor’s degree enjoy higher pay.

The more educated you are, the higher your salary. For example, college graduates earn an average of $48,500 yearly, while those with an associate degree get higher pay. A bachelor’s degree in some disciplines could even get you a six-figure salary. One fascinating fact for college students projected that over 150 career paths would grow from 2016 to 2026.

5. 75% of all those who bought a home in 2016 went to college.

University graduates are also more likely to buy a home. According to the real estate market data shared by Zillow in 2016, three-quarters of all homeowners had a college education. In comparison, 11% of homeowners are high school graduates, and 14% attended college but never received a degree.

College Student Statistics - classroom

College Student Demographics 2019

6. 9 million students enrolled for part-time and full-time studies in the Fall 2018 semester.

Educationdata estimated that 11.2 million female students and 8.7 million male students enrolled in the United States colleges for the Fall 2018 semester. Specifically, 12.1 million students were expected to enroll full-time, while 7.8 million students were expected to enroll part-time.

College Freshman Statistics predicted that 12.3 million newly enrolled students would fall under the age of 25, while 7.6 million students would 25 or older. This set of data should give you an idea of how many college students are currently in the US.  

7. Many high school graduates go to college to study recreation, park, leisure, and fitness.

STEM degrees are recognized as the most valuable. However, park, leisure, leisure, and fitness studies are the fastest-growing fields. During the last decade, stats provided by Niche shows that 31,667 students graduated with either of these degrees. College trends and predictions for 2020 show that the enrollment figures for these popular degrees remain unchanged.

8. First-generation college students account for 50% of the total college population.

Approximately half of current college students’ parents have never been to college, with the first-generation students being only 30% of all newly admitted ones. Unfortunately, most of them are low-income earners, with 86% leaving college within six years without earning a degree.

9. 69% of online students only enroll to further their studies.

During the last decade, the number of students enrolled in online programs increased tremendously. Checking through some statistics websites for students, we found out that the number of those who attend college strictly online in the United States is over 2.6 million. 25.8% of them have taken at least one online class.

2019 was expected to be the second year in a row when the majority of college students who enrolled online decided to earn their degree in a field they already work in to expand their career opportunities.

10. Only 0.5% of undergraduates attend Ivy League universities.

We tried to find out what percent of high school graduates go to Ivy League colleges, and we discovered that only a mere 0.5% do so. These private colleges are regarded as elite schools and are extremely difficult to get accepted to.

Stats by The College Solution show that getting into one of these schools requires excellent academic or athletic performances and lots of hard work and dedication.

College Student Statistics - Demographics

General College Enrollment Statistics

11. Over 16 million students enrolled in universities in 2017.

When we tried to analyze the number of university students in the United States who started school in 2017, we found a difference of 13.7% compared to the forecasts for 2019. Between 2000 and 2010, number of college students in the US increased by 37%.

12. Over 14 million high school students are expected to apply for admission to public universities in 2028.

In 2017, 14.56 million university students in the United States were enrolled in public universities and 5.1 million in private ones. Fast forward to 2019, and there were numerous student population predictions that 14.67 million students would attend public universities, with approximately 5.24 million going to private institutions.

In 2028, these numbers could reach about 14.98 million and 5.33 million for public and private universities, respectively.

13. Experts anticipate college enrollment to grow by 3% between 2017 and 2028.

College enrollment has continued to increase over the last few years. Experts predicted in 2017 that the college enrollment of male and percentage of female students would increase at a slow but steady pace over the next decade. The projected growth is significant, even if it does not approach the high figures we saw in 2010 and 2011.

14. There is a total transfer of 1,250,000 students each year.

Transfer students’ statistics put together by the University of Colorado note that around 10% of students change their minds about their first choice of school. The majority of them move closer to home, aren’t satisfied with their current college academics, try to avoid expensive tuition and fees, or switch to a public university.

College Enrollment Statistics by State

15. 15 states had higher college student enrollment in 2019 than in 2018.

Compared to Fall 2018, college enrollments in the United States saw a total decrease of 1.3% in Fall 2019. However, more students enrolled in 15 states, especially in the south and west. Utah saw the highest growth – almost 16,800 students, or 4.9% more than last year.

16. California had the largest enrollment, with over 2.4 million students. 

California isn’t just home to several magnificent cities but also some of the world’s best colleges and universities that meet students’ demands. In 2019, California enrolled nearly 2.5 million students, which is the highest among all the states.  

17. College enrollment at some higher institutions in Florida has gone down significantly.

The US Department of Education has shared some numbers that show how college enrollment at some higher institutions in Florida has decreased over the past five years. The Student Clearing House Research Center reported that the 2019 spring semester had 48,000 fewer college students than in 2018. These college student stats showed this was the most significant drop among all the states in the US.

18. A total of 488,169 students enrolled in the last ten states that hand the lowest college enrollment. 

Overall, the ten states with the lowest student enrollment got 48,8169 students, which is only 2.6% of the total figure. In comparison, the ten states with the largest enrollment accounted for much of the entire United States student population, with more than 9.5 million.

College Student Statistics - books

College Enrollment Statistics by University: Ivy League 2019

19. More than 49,000 students were attending the University of Pennsylvania in 2019.

The institution received 44,491 applications in 2018 and admitted 8.39% of the students. 96% of the students admitted for Fall 2018 came from the best of their high school graduates.

In 2019, their acceptance rate stood at 7.44%. Also, the 6-year graduation rate for all undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania is 96%. 

20. Cornell University admitted 10.6% of applicants in 2019.

Cornell is the second-largest university in the Ivy League, and it has increased its admission rate since 2018. When it comes to college enrollment by race, the institution admitted 55% of students of color. Cornell University enrolled 5,183 students which is the highest admission rate in the Ivy League.

21. Harvard University admitted only 1950 students in 2019.

The fascinating fact is that many students who attend Harvard get an average grant of $53,000.

In 2018, Harvard college student stats showed the school received applications from 42,742 students, which is more than the applications for 2017. The figure even went higher in 2019, but unfortunately, only 4.5% were admitted.

22. Columbia University got more than 42,000 applicants in 2019. 

In 2019, Columbia University admitted only 5.1% or 2,190 of the entire students who applied. And almost all of the admitted students were the best of their high school graduates. 

23. Brown University accepted 6.6%  of students who applied.

Brown University admitted fewer new students in 2019 – 2,551 students or 6.6% of those who applied. In comparison, the acceptance rate was 7.4% in 2018. Just like other Ivy League universities, almost all of the admitted students were the best of their high school graduates.

Life Facts About College Students

24. College students budget an average of $2,800 every year for food and drinks. 

Spending on food and beverages can destroy a student’s budget, especially those who lack control in eating. And by eating, we are referring to the meal plans universities offer to their students at campus dining halls.

An average college student spends almost $3,000 on food and beverages during the academic year. This stat is just one of the many stats and facts about college students that show how expensive university life can be.

25. An iPod is usually the most stolen personal gadget.

Stealing someone else’s property is a crime anywhere, including on college campuses. In 2016, there were over 28,000 criminal cases reported to the police and security agencies, which was 3% more than the number in 2015. 

26. The average family spends more than $1,300 on back-to-college items.

According to older surveys, the average American family spent almost $1000 on all of the things their kids in college needed when returning to school after spending the summer home. Recent stats showed an exponential increase, with the average American household spending a whopping total of $25.1 billion in 2018.

27. Approximately 1,125,000 students drop out each year.

A University of Colorado study revealed that the annual percentage of college dropouts is less than 10%. Between 2010 and 2017, the gap between female and male dropouts never exceeded 3%. In 2017, 6.6% of the total male students, and 5% of the overall female. Some of the reasons why students drop out of college include high tuition and fees rates, stress, health conditions, etc.

28. Most university students drive a Toyota Yaris car or a GS Motor Works CY50-B scooter.

Although some students can go about accomplishing their daily tasks without owning a car or bike, the rest need a set of wheels. The popularity of the Toyota Yaris car and the GS Motor Works CY50-B scooter has to do with the fact that they are cheap to buy and affordable to maintain. The GS Motor Works CY50-50 costs only $769, while the Toyota Yaris cost just a little more.

Tuition and Scholarship for College Students

29. Private colleges charge an average of $34,740 in tuition and other fees. 

The average tuition in public universities is $9,970 per year for students in-state and $25,290 for out-of-state students. In 2018, accommodation and food for students in a four-year public institution cost an average of $10,800 and $12,210 for students in private colleges. Also, in the same year, students paid a total of $1,250 to get their supplies at both public and private colleges.

These huge sums have a massive effect on the percentage of high school graduates that go to college.

30. There are more than 750,000 grants and scholarships in the United States. 

College student statistics from the University of Colorado, CNN, and NPR show that the increase in tuition and other fees is what prevents some high school students from even trying to go to college. But it’s not all bad news –  the number of grants and scholarships awarded should encourage those who think they can’t afford it.

Exceptional athletes and students should have no problem obtaining one of these grants and scholarships in particular. However, minority students have a hard time, with Caucasian students winning approximately 72% of these grants and scholarships.

College Student Health Statistics

31. A year of college can reduce mortality rates by up to 19%.

The low level of stress/worry that accompanies higher wages and greater job security for people with a college degree is something that encourages younger generations to take this big step in their lives. The reduction in the risks of cancer and heart disease is what drastically brings down the student mortality rate.

32. 25% of college students currently have or have had an STD.

The University of Colorado shared some STD statistics for college students that revealed a quarter of college students are dealing with this issue while studying. As many as 400,000 students report having unprotected sex when they are drunk. 

33. 59.8% of college students drink at least once a month.

One thing that stands against going to university is the fact that university students drink more than young people who do not attend these institutions. College students drinking statistics by the Washington Post show that almost 60% of young people aged 18 to 22 drink at least once a month at university, compared to 51.5% of those who aren’t enrolled do the same.

34. 42% of college students feel hopeless, stressed, and depressed. 

University students often get tired easily. That’s due to the fact that a large percentage of them have to work part-time or even full-time to make ends meet. And with loneliness and separation from family and friends part of the mix, almost half of American students feel hopeless, stressed, and depressed. 

College Student Statistics - stress

Student Loan and Debt Facts

35. Students got $1.41 trillion in student loans in 2019.

In 2014, this figure stood at $1.06 trillion, so it has increased by 33% since. In 2019, the credit reporting agency Experian revealed that the total amount of loans given to students was the highest ever. 

Savingforcollege.com has also revealed in one of its student debt statistics that the total student loan debt could reach a mind-blowing $2 trillion by 2024. 

36. The average college student has a debt of $37,000 upon graduation.

Student debt has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, the average cost for students in a four-year public institution has tripled and doubled for students in private colleges over the past three decades. For this reason, most college students can’t graduate without getting into debt. The more disheartening fact is that 59% say they cannot tell when they will be able to pay back their student loans.

37. Some students don’t know how much debt they are getting themselves into.

One of the most astonishing student loan facts is that many college students don’t know how much they spend daily. With over 40 million borrowers, more than 50% of them aren’t even aware of how much debt they are getting themselves into.

Working College Students Statistics

38. The average working student earns $11 every hour.

The painful part of this is that no matter how much work undergraduate students do, it is unlikely that they can earn enough to pay their tuition and living expenses. Keep in mind that some of them work for the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which amounts to $6,380 per year for those doing part-time jobs.

39. Female college students work 16 hours more than the males.

Female students generally work 16 hours longer than males, according to College student trends in 2018 surveys. These numbers include the combined period for a job, as well as schoolwork.

In 2017, 45% percent of female students and 41% of male students enrolled in full-time programs were employed. The percentage was higher for part-time students.

Other Facts About College Students

40. Tulane University is rated as the top party school in America for 2019.

Niche ranked Tulane University, located in New Orleans, LA, first on its top-five list of party colleges. The University of Georgia ranked second, while West Virginia University, the University of Wisconsin, and Howard University ranked next. 

So, if you wish to spend your next four years in college partying, these college Party Statistics will show you what to do.

41. Each student gets an average of two parking tickets every year.

And there’s a lot of money in it! Rutgers University makes a mind-boggling $5 million a year from parking tickets. We have universities like William Patterson University on the other end of the spectrum, which gives 71 times fewer parking tickets than Rutgers.

42. More than 88,000 college students were arrested during Spring Break.

College student stats provided by College Advisor serve as a warning for current and future students. It’s an excellent idea to take a break and enjoy drinks with your friends. But drink responsibly because many cases can arise from being intoxicated or drunk. These statistics clearly show how things can get out of control, especially at the beach in Cancun.

Wrapping Up

We began this article by asking whether getting a college degree was worth it. Our original notion still stands:

It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. 

What’s more: 

As the most recent college student statistics reveal, a college education will open you up to several opportunities. And the higher your degree is, the more chances you have of landing a well-paying job. 

Bottom line:

These amazing stats and facts suggest we should all cherish and strive to get a college degree. It expands minds, removes boundaries, and creates lifelong friendships.