This Is the Fastest-Growing College in America

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:

School State 2000 Enrollment Change
Southern New Hampshire University N.H. 4,584 2,376%
Liberty University Va. 6,192 1,282%
Brigham Young University-Idaho Idaho 8,949 337%
Savannah College of Art and Design Ga. 4,923 201%
Columbia College Mo. 3,340 197%
Wilmington University Del. 5,298 178%
University of St. Thomas Minn. 4,073 141%
Chapman University Calif. 4,353 126%
University of the Incarnate Word Texas 3,702 121%
Cornell University N.Y. 12,043 100%
Baker College Mich. 3,896 95%
Drexel University Pa. 13,128 84%
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Mass. 3,874 78%
Stevens Institute of Technology N.J. 4,121 77%
Rice University Texas 4,205 73%
Elon University N.C. 4,138 71%
Pace University N.Y. 7,911 69%
Carnegie Mellon University Pa. 8,514 67%
Brandman University Calif. 6,145 66%
Gonzaga University Wash. 4,548 66%

Click here to read about the best online colleges.

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