College enrollment in public and private institutions in the U.S. 1965-2029

How many college students are there in the U.S.?


In 2018, there were 14.53 million college students in the U.S. enrolled in public colleges and 5.12 million students enrolled in private colleges. These figures are expected to increase to 14.89 million and 5.22 million respectively by the year 2029.

The difference between public and private colleges


There are lots of different colleges and universities in the United States, and one key aspect when students choose which college to attend is whether it is a public or private institution. Public colleges, also called state colleges, are funded by the government of the state they are in. Private colleges, on the other hand, are not funded by the government, but by private donors and endowments. Typically, private colleges are much more expensive than public colleges. Public colleges tend to offer different tuitions for students dependent on whether they live in-state or out-of-state, while private colleges have the same tuition cost for every student.

Enrolling in college in the U.S.


College enrollment has increased significantly in the past decades, and currently, a majority of individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 are enrolled in higher education. There are many different aspects that determine where students choose to study, including size, cost, and location - and the increasing college enrollment means the American public is becoming more educated than in years past.

College enrollment in the United States from 1965 to 2018 and projections up to 2029 for public and private colleges

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Source

Release date

December 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1965 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Forecast.

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Statistics on "Funding university in the United States"

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