Asumag 2639 Headshot Joe Agron

Editor's Focus: Growth Mode

May 1, 2016
School and university enrollment remains in growth mode, and will continue to do so thru at least 2023.

School and university enrollment remains in growth mode, and will continue to do so thru at least 2023. 

The latest projections from the National Center for Education Statistics illustrate how the rise of students entering the nation’s elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions each year continues to impact and challenge administrators—especially on the facilities front. 

According to the latest data, fall 2015 total elementary, secondary and post-secondary enrollment hit an all-time high (approximately 76 million). Public elementary and secondary school enrollment reached a new record in fall 2015 (49.8 million), as did the nation’s post-secondary institutions (21.2 million). Private elementary and secondary school enrollment, however, continued its downward trend. 

Overall enrollment at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels is projected to continue its climb from fall 2015 to fall 2023 by 6%. Public elementary and secondary population is expected to see an increase of approximately 5%, while post-secondary enrollment is expected to grow 12% during this timeframe. 

Of course, school enrollment growth—or lack of it—in your particular area will vary. But as a whole, the areas that will be experiencing the greatest amount of public elementary and secondary student population growth from fall 2015 thru fall 2023 are the West (+9%) and South (+6%). Both the Northeast and Midwest are expected to remain relatively flat. 

Public Pre-K thru Grade 8 enrollment is projected to grow 5% during the fall 2015 thru fall 2023 timeframe; public secondary enrollment is expected to increase by 3%. The greatest percentage enrollment growth over this timeframe is at post-secondary institutions, which as mentioned previously is projected to jump by 12%. 

Over the 2011 to 2023 period, the individual states that have and will continue to see the largest jumps in elementary and secondary school percentage enrollment growth are Nevada (21.6%), Arizona (19.9%), Alaska (18.3%), Utah (17.7%), Florida (13.7%), Maryland (13.5%) and Texas (13.4%). States that will experience the largest percentage decreases over this time frame are West Virginia (10.5%), Mississippi (6.5%), Michigan (6.4%), District of Columbia (5.8%), and New Jersey and Ohio (both 4.4%). 

As can be expected, those states that are and will see the most dramatic school-age population growth also are the states with the most education construction going on and/or being planned.

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