The number of people enrolled in post-secondary academic institutions rose 29% between 2010 and 2019, according to a new study, from 15.3 million to 19.7 million. This cannot be accounted for by the national growth in population over the same period, which was only about 17%. The reason for the 29% increase is not entirely clear. It may be the chance for college graduates to earn much more than people whose education ended with a high school diploma.
A recently released Student Loan Hero study titled “Student Enrollment Rises the Most in New Hampshire, Least in Alaska — Plus the Colleges With the Biggest Growth” found that the increase in people enrolled in post-secondary institutions rose much faster in some states than others. These were led by New Hampshire (up 174%) and Utah (up 133%). The study’s authors commented on the New Hampshire figure: “Much of the growth occurred somewhat recently as New Hampshire saw enrollment grow by 124% from 2010 to 2019.”
The fastest-growing colleges posted much more rapid growth. Over the 2000 to 2019 period, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) grew 1,282% to 113,514 studying for graduate and post-graduate degrees. Though the school is based in New Hampshire, that is misleading. Almost all of its students do their work online. Its campus in Manchester only has about 3,000 students. The size of SNHU does speak to the rapid rise of online education at all levels from primary school to Ph.D. programs.
SNHU has a number of detractors. It has been called a “diploma mill.”
However, it also has been praised as a nonprofit school that gives students access to an education they might not be able to afford or have if they had to attend classes on campus.
These are the 20 fastest-growing colleges in America:
|Southern New Hampshire University||N.H.||4,584||2,376%|
|Brigham Young University-Idaho||Idaho||8,949||337%|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Ga.||4,923||201%|
|University of St. Thomas||Minn.||4,073||141%|
|University of the Incarnate Word||Texas||3,702||121%|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Mass.||3,874||78%|
|Stevens Institute of Technology||N.J.||4,121||77%|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pa.||8,514||67%|