States with the smallest higher education enrollment, fall 2017

Jan. 2, 2018
Wyoming, the least populous state, also has the fewest college students.

Higher-education institutions in Wyoming has the fewest students of any of the 50 states in fall 2017, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Statistics from the center show that the numbers of college and university students coincide for the most part with the overall population of a state. Nine of the 10 states with the smallest populations in 2017 U.S. Census figures are among the 10 states that had the fewest college students in fall 2017. (New Hampshire is one of the 10 smallest states, but had more college students than Hawaii.)

The Center reported that Wyoming institutions had 29,333 students enrolled in fall 2017.

Overall, the 10 states with the fewest college students had a total of 488,169 students enrolled—only about 2.6 percent of the total U.S. enrollment of 18,811,280.  In comparison, the 10 states with the largest higher-education enrollment accounted for more than half of U.S. student numbers—more than 9.5 million.

All 10 of the states with the smallest college enrollments saw their numbers decline from 2016 to 2017.

Here are the 10 states with the fewest college students in fall 2017.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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