The college student statistics below will give you a hint of the current state of higher education. Moreover, you’ll find out more about the students’ life on campus and get valuable information on their health. In the end, the last stats section represents future projections and expectations.
Trends in higher education change fast, and all college students can do is adapt. However, factors like socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender and race (in)equality, job market demands, and similar significantly influence their choices.
Check out the following facts to see what it’s like for other college students.
Key College Students Stats and Facts for 2021
- 11.3 million college students in the US are female.
- 18% of college students rate their general health as excellent.
- One in four college students performs worse due to lack of sleep.
- Around 80% of college students consume alcohol.
- By 2040, there will be nearly 600 million college students in the world.
- The most common vehicle college students use is a scooter.
- College students in the US owe 1.7 trillion collectively in 2021.
Stats on College Students in the US
1. 34% of college students in the US have an anxiety disorder.
(Healthy Minds Network)
The newest National Data report reveals that one-third of the screened college students deal with anxiety. The college student mental health data suggest many students need professional help.
According to the same anxiety in college students statistics, 18% of the respondents suffer from moderate and 16% from severe anxiety. Moreover, 39% of students struggle with depression.
2. 11.3 million college students in the US are female.
Female college students have outnumbered male students in the US ever since the 70s, and this school year is no exception. Out of 19.7 million college students, only 8.5 million of them are male.
3. 7.2% fewer students aged 18–20 enrolled in colleges in the spring of 2021.
(NSC Research Center)
These college students comprise over 40% of all undergraduates. However, recent college statistics suggest a significantly lower number of 18- to 20-year-olds enrolled in colleges this year. The rates are particularly lower in community colleges (14.6%).
4. In 2021, 13% fewer Native American college students have enrolled in the spring semester.
(NSC Research Center)
The same data shows Native Americans have the greatest decline of all ethnic groups among undergraduates. White, Black, and Hispanic students have relatively equal decline percentages — -8.5%, -8.8%, and -7.3%, respectively. On the other hand, Asian students have a decline of only 4.8%.
5. 49% of college students anticipate taking online classes even after their campuses start functioning normally.
(Best Colleges, BLS)
One of the main reasons for that is the large percentage of college students who work — 24.8 students who attend 4-year colleges.
In addition, due to work and many other obligations, almost 50% of the surveyed college students anticipate taking online degree programs in 2021, as online education gives them more schedule flexibility.
6. College students in the US owe 1.7 trillion collectively in 2021.
There are currently 45 million borrowers in the US, according to student loan debt statistics. Student loan debt is the second-highest consumer debt category, right behind mortgage debt. So, it’s no wonder that 17% of them struggle to pay for higher education while minimizing student debt.
7. 22.6 million student loan borrowers are younger than 34.
This age group makes half of the total number of student loan borrowers in the US. The 35–49 age group counts 14.2 million borrowers, and their total debt amounts to $601.7 billion. Moreover, 2.3 million borrowers are 62 or older, and this group collectively owes only $86.8 billion.
8. 49.8% of college students use birth control pills.
Starting a new life away from home gives college students the freedom to explore their sexuality. Interesting facts about college students show that they use various methods of birth control. Apart from birth control pills, 24.7 percent of college students use the withdrawal method as a form of birth control.
9. The college enrollment rate of Asian students in fall semester 2020 was 83.2%.
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
A lot of Asian students who graduate from high school attend colleges. On the other hand, the college enrollment rate of white students is lower (62.9%), while the percentage of black (56.6%) and Hispanic graduates (56.2%) is relatively the same.
10. The percentage of students who go to college and graduate in four years is 33.3%.
College graduation rates in the US differ among institutions, and the mentioned data refers to community colleges. Moreover, the six-year graduation rate is 57.6%. Regarding private institutions, 52.8% of students graduate after four years, while 65.4% graduate after six years.
11. 31.69% of college students are food insecure at the University of New Mexico.
(Basic Needs UNM)
The food insecurity rate varies across demographic groups at the UNM. For example, 51.82% of American Indian students are experiencing food insecurity. On the other hand, fewer Hispanic students have the same problem — 34.51%.
College Student Health Statistics
12. Almost 150,000 college students develop some kind of alcohol-related health problem every year.
(Alcohol Rehab Guide)
A large percentage of college students participate in heavy drinking and can have alcohol-related problems. These problems often have long-term negative consequences, like liver damage, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas, and other health conditions.
13. 18% of college students rate their general health as excellent.
In 2020, less than a fifth of 13,101 survey participants described their overall health as excellent. Conversely, only 1.3% said their health was poor. However, the statistics on college students discovered that the largest group of college students (42%) felt very good.
14. Cold is the most common health issue for 28.2% of college students.
The second most common health problem among college students is urinary tract infection (10.2%). Lower on the list is bronchitis, with only 3.1%. Finally, STDs noticed among college students are chlamydia (1.1%) and gonorrhea (0.3%).
15. Suicide is the second most frequent cause of college students’ death.
College student death statistics point out the rising suicide rates among young adults between 15 and 24. According to the ACHA’s research, the suicide rate of this age group is three times higher than it was 25 years ago.
16. Around 33.4% of college students skip breakfast every day.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
Unhealthy dietary habits among college students are frequent. For example, many of them skip breakfast almost seven days a week. On the other hand, many never skip lunch (49%) or dinner (55.2%).
College Life Statistics
17. The most common scooter college students drive is GS Motor Works CY50-B.
(Classes & Careers)
The reason college students love it so much is its price. The scooter costs $769, which is pretty affordable for them. Not to mention the convenience of finding a parking space for such a small vehicle.
18. In the US, 62% of colleges and universities have LGBTQ student groups.
Many non-heterosexual people feel lonely on campus, according to LGBT college students statistics. In addition, more severe forms of rejection often result in depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Therefore, student support groups create an LGBT-friendly climate, and college students who join these groups are less likely to experience depression.
19. 80% of college students say beer pong is the most popular college drinking game.
Flip cup is in second place with 55% and quarters in third with 44%. On the other hand, keg stands is the least popular drinking game among students.
20. College students’ eating habits statistics show 47% of the respondents eat when stressed.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
Nearly half the surveyed college students use food to deal with stress. They consume fruit (40%), meat (39.7%), seafood (44%), and dairy products (43.3%) 1–2 times a week. But they also indulge in cakes, candies, and soft drinks (40.4%).
21. One in four community college students nationwide are enrolled in a California Community College.
The California Community Colleges are the most extensive education system in the US, as they have over 2 million new students every year. In addition, community college statistics suggest that more than 69% of them have diverse ethnic backgrounds.
22. College student demographics reveal that 12% of college students at four-year public institutions are African Americans.
Moreover, they make up 13% of the college student population at four-year private non-profit institutions and 29% of the student population at four-year private for-profit institutions.
In addition, only 15% of African American students attend a highly selective institution, while 8% of them attend an elite research institution.
23. Stats on college students show that 52.9% of undergraduate college students are non-Hispanic white.
Furthermore, Hispanic students make 20.9% of the student body, while there are 15.1% of African American and 7.6% of undergraduate Asian college students.
Regarding graduate students, 61.2 percent are white non-Hispanic, 13.6 percent are Hispanic, 12.3 percent are African American, and 11.2 percent are Asian.
24. College students’ exercise statistics show that 43.8% exercise over 30 minutes one to two times a week.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
The survey results also show that male college students exercise more regularly than females. In addition, they show lower levels of stress as well. On the other hand, female college students tend to snack more.
Additionally, senior students exercise much more than first-year students. Overall, 42% of college students don’t exercise at all.
25. One in four college students perform worse due to lack of sleep.
(University Health Center UGA)
College student sleep statistics from the health center at the University of Georgia detect sleep deprivation among the students. Moreover, the most recent survey has shown that the lack of sleep causes lower grades, missing projects, deadlines, and classes.
26. 28.1% of college students at Harvard want to study social sciences.
Social sciences are the most popular field of study at Harvard at the moment, while biological sciences are second with 18.3%. On the other hand, only 10.3% of college students are interested in engineering programs.
27. College applicants statistics tell us Harvard accepted 2,320 college students in 2021.
The college admitted a pretty small number out of 57,786 applicants. They come from various regions — Middle Atlantic (20.7%), South (18.3%), New England (16.6%), Pacific (13.2%), Midwest (9.9%), and Central (1.8%). There are 15.6% of international students as well.
28. 25.9% of college students at Harvard are Asian American.
Asian American students are the largest ethnic group at Harvard. In second place are African American students with 15.9%, while Native Hawaiian (0.5%) and Native American (1.1%) are the least frequent ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino are somewhere in the middle with 12.5%.
Alcohol Facts for College Students
29. Around 80% of college students consume alcohol.
(Alcohol Rehab Guide)
The latest studies reveal that four out of five college students consume alcohol to some degree. One of the reasons is that, upon leaving their home, college students tend to experience new things. The availability of liquor tempts them, leading to regular drinking.
30. 20% of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.
(Alcohol Rehab Guide)
According to the newest available statistics for college students, roughly 60% of students between 18 and 22 admitted to drinking in the past month.
In addition, nearly two in three of them engage in binge drinking. What is concerning is that frequent excessive drinking activities can quickly result in alcohol poisoning or alcohol dependence.
31. College students reduced drinking by 28% during the onset of the pandemic.
Contrary to expectations, alcohol abuse didn’t happen among college students at the beginning of the pandemic. The main reason is that, during that time, the majority of students were at home. Therefore, this data shows how the living situation affects college drinking behavior.
32. College facts and statistics reveal that 22.1% of college students report heavy alcohol use one time within two weeks.
The data shows the percentage of college students in the US who have five or more alcoholic drinks (for males) and four or more drinks (for females) in one sitting, as it is considered heavy alcohol use.
Moreover, 11.1% of students reported heavy drinking two times in two weeks, while 4.7% of them reported heavy drinking three times in two weeks.
33. One in four college students have academic problems because of drinking.
(Stanford Children’s Health)
Young people involved in constant drinking activities are at a higher risk of achieving poor academic results. Facts about college students say ongoing drinking affects students’ performance in multiple ways. For example, they miss classes, fall behind in class, fail exams, and get lower grades.
34. Approximately 696,000 college students per year are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
Around 97,000 of those report sexual assault or date rape. Alcohol lowers one’s inhibitions, leaving a person in great danger. Too many drinks paired with underlying mental health or relationship problems affect one’s judgment. So, they often result in aggressive behavior towards both men and women on campuses.
College Student Statistics — Projections
35. 14.89 million US college students will go to public colleges by 2029.
Based on the current situation, steady growth of college students enrolled in public colleges is expected over the next decade. Although more expensive, private institutions will also have more college students — approximately 5.14 million.
36. Nearly 600 million college students will exist by 2040 worldwide.
The global demand for higher education will rise in the next couple of decades. As a result, the number of college students in the world will be three times higher than the current number (around 200 million). Education statistics imply the world will see a 4.2% growth rate on average every year.
37. The number of prospective college students in the US will decline after 2025.
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Birth rates during and after the Great Recession declined significantly. As a result, there will be fewer high school graduates after 2025. So, US colleges will witness a steep decline in college applicants.
College Students Stats — Conclusion
The ever-present dilemma of whether college is worth the trouble persists. If we put the major choice aside, there are lots of other equally important factors to consider. It stands to reason that everyone will make a decision based on their personal preferences.
The data we’ve compiled displays some interesting college life info, stats about college students, and data about their mental health. We’ve also mentioned some astonishing gender-related facts about college students. All of this supplies us with precious insights into college life in general.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What percentage of college students graduate?
Each year, 4 million or 18% of college students graduate in the US. The statistics indicate that graduation rates increase approximately 2% every year. Moreover, the national graduation rate is 46%. For the sake of comparison, 63% of college students graduated in 2019 and earned a bachelor’s degree in four years.
The graduation rate at two-year institutions is highest for Asian students (32%). Conversely, African American college students have the lowest graduation rates at the same institutions (13%).
What percentage of college students graduate in four years?
Only 41% of college students in the US graduate from college in four years. In fact, the four-year graduation rates in most colleges and universities are below 60%, and many renowned institutions experience the same rate.
For example, 55% of students graduate after four years of college at Texas A&M University. Moreover, Alabama University has a 50% four-year graduation rate, while the University of Colorado has the lowest rate — only 46%.
Colleges where lots of students graduate on time probably have well-developed support programs.
What percentage of the US population are college students?
Based on the most recent data, the US population counts about 330 million people. In fall 2020, 19.7 million people enrolled in colleges across the states. If we convert numbers to percentages, nearly 6% of the entire US population are college students.
Among those, 11.3 million, or 57%, are female college students. They have outnumbered their fellow male students in the last 40 years, as only 8.5 million or roughly 43% male students enrolled the same year.
What percent of college students are over the age of 25?
Historically speaking, the percentage of college students over the age of 25 in the States used to be rather low. For example, back in the 1970s, around 13% of college students were older than 25. However, the numbers have changed over the last few decades.
Today, more than one-third of college students are older than 25. More precisely, those between 25 and 29 comprise 11% of the total number. On the other hand, the 30–34 age group makes up 6% of all college students. In California, for example, over 40% of community college students are 25 or older.
What percentage of college students change their major?
According to the National Center for Education statistics, switching majors is a common thing among students. As much as 80% of college students change their major at least once. What’s more, many of them change their mind up to six times before settling on one.
The US Department of Education’s numerous studies have demonstrated that around 30% of college students change their initial major within the first three years of college. However, it’s recommended to declare your major by the end of your sophomore year. College student statistics imply it’s possible to do it later, but it’s a bit more complicated.
- Alcohol Rehab Guide
- Basic Needs UNM
- Best Colleges
- Classes & Careers
- College News
- Foundation CCC
- Harvard College
- Healthy Minds Network
- ICEF Monitor
- NCBI NLM NIH
- NSC Research Center
- SAGE Journals
- Stanford Children’s Health
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- The Ladders
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- University Business
- University Health Center UGA