60 University Statistics: 2023 Data, Trends & Predictions

60 University Statistics: 2023 Data, Trends & Predictions

As bastions of knowledge, universities are expected to provide high-quality programs and a conducive scholarly environment for teachers and students alike. These are designed to be safe spaces for people to explore the world of knowledge and learn how they can contribute to their chosen fields. But, there are many factors that affect student experience at a university. These include funding, diversity, and, of course, the cost of attending. As such, it is important to understand the current state of universities.

This article aims to address this by shedding some light on the different university statistics from the financial state of higher education institutions to their enrollment rates. With the topics discussed here, university administrators, educators, as well as students can better understand what factors are affecting how universities are run today and where the sector is headed in the coming years.


University Statistics Table of Contents

  1. General University Statistics
  2. Financial State of University Statistics
  3. University Enrollment Statistics
  4. Cost of Studying at a University
  5. Universities Remain as Key Components of Global Progress

General University Statistics

According to 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the American public is becoming more educated through the years. That is, we can see a smooth progression if we compare the percentage of adults that graduated college from the past to the present. From 25.6% of college graduates in 2000 to 29.9% in 2010 to 36% in 2019. These are good figures and they result from several factors working together, such as the increase in the number of universities in the U.S. and more accessible university programs.

  • Currently, there are more than 25,000 universities around the world.
  • There are 13,723 officially recognized universities in Europe.
  • There are around 5,984 recognized universities in Asia.
  • In 2018, the U.S. has about 4,138 universities and colleges. 4,042 are located within the 50 states and 96 are from other American jurisdictions.
  • Among the universities in the U.S., there are 1,636 are public institutions and 1,664 are nonprofit.
  • 768 of the U.S. universities fall under the public four-year institution category and 868 are public two-year.
  • There are also 742 for-profit universities in the U.S.; 358 of which are four-year institutions while 384 are two-year institutions.
  • California is the state with the highest number of universities–259 four-year schools and 161 two-year institutions.
  • With one four-year university and eight two-year institutions, Wyoming has the least number of universities among the states of America.
  • Times Higher Education ranked the University of Oxford as the number one university in the world in 2020 with an overall score of 95.4. It is followed by the California Institute of Technology which scored an overall of 94.5 points.
  • MIT is the number one university in the world in 2020, according to QS World University Ranking.
  • In 2019, Brown University is the top university in terms of the highest average Grade Point Average (GPA) at 3.71. This, however, is partially due to its relaxed grading system, which was implemented to encourage students to explore the curriculum widely.
  • Coming in second and third are Stanford University and Harvard University with an average GPA of 3.66 and 3.64, respectively.
  • With 1,881 out of 21,394 applicants admitted each year (8.8%), Dartmouth College has the highest acceptance rate among the members of the Ivy League that officially announced its Class of 2024 acceptance rate.
  • Meanwhile, Harvard University has the lowest acceptance rate with 4.9%. However, it is still a little bit higher than the Class of 2023’s 4.5% acceptance rate.

Source: NCES

Financial State of Universities

University-level education is a billion-dollar market that is expected to further grow over time, as shown in the following set of statistics. However, as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, the future of higher education is filled with uncertainties. Bumpy weeks are sure to follow and smaller institutions are more likely to suffer a major blow. There is no solid estimate of the amount and type of damage that COVID-19 will bring to the sector but the following statistics detail some of the financial states of universities to help give you an idea.

  • According to Verified Market Research, the global higher education market was valued at $65.40 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $95 billion by 2027.
  • Between 2015 and 2020, the market size of U.S. colleges and universities has grown by 2.6% annually on average.
  • The market size of U.S. universities and colleges, when measured by revenue, is $528.4 billion in 2020
  • The market size of U.S. universities and colleges is expected to see a 1.7% increase in 2020.
  • The global online education market size is projected to reach $319.167 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 9.23%.
  • In the fiscal year 2017-2018, the University of Pennsylvania reported approximately $11.7 billion in net revenue. Harvard University reported $7.81 billion in net total revenue in the same year.
  • In 2018, postsecondary education programs in the United States received a total of $14 million from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services provided $18.31 million to U.S. university research programs and related institutions in 2018.
  • In A.Y. 2017-2018, public degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S. have received $29.53 billion in revenue through Federal grants and contracts.
  • United States public universities and colleges generated a total of about $81.3 billion in revenue through tuition and fees in A.Y. 2017-2018.
  • In 2017, the primary sources of funding of private non-profit degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S. include student tuition and fees ($75.87 billion), investment returns ($45.45 billion), hospitals ($29.4 billion), federal appropriations, contracts, and grants ($26.44 billion) as well as private gifts and contributions ($24.09 billion) from their affiliated entities.
  • In 2019, Harvard University got the largest endowment market value, which is about $39.4 billion, followed by The University of Texas System with an endowment fund market value of around $30.96 billion.
  • Cambridge University has generated an income of £121.7 million ($154.17 million) in 2018 from recurrent research grants.
  • In 2017/18, the University of Oxford has acquired a total of £1.6 billion ($2.03 billion). It received £579.1 million from research grants and contracts and £332.5 million through education contracts and tuition fees.
  • In the A.Y. 2018-2019, a total of 623,901 international students received funding from personal sources and their families.

Source: NACUBO

University Enrollment Statistics

Any change, trend, or news about the higher education sector is sure to affect the enrollment rate of universities. Add to that the personal circumstances of students and their families. This is why it is not surprising for enrollment figures to regularly fluctuate. Similarly, dropout rates are an interesting point of the matter as they can be affected by various enrollment trends (Straton, S.L., 2006).

  • 21.9 million students enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges for A.Y. 2019. This is lower than last year’s 22.2 million undergraduate enrollees.
  • In 2019, 58,913 students enrolled at the University of Central Florida in the U.S., which is the highest among the leading universities in the country.
  • 9.38 million undergraduate students who enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in 2018 were female. Male undergraduate students were only about 7.23 million in the same year.
  • In 2018, 120,000 students who were enrolled in U.S. universities are American Indian or Alaskan natives.
  • Texas experienced a 26% increase in full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment in their public higher institutions throughout 2007-2017.
  • There were 5.12 million college students enrolled in private U.S. colleges and 4.53 million students enrolled in public U.S. colleges in A.Y. 2018 - 2019.
  • In 2018, 52.6% of the U.S. population that enrolled in college is 20-21 years old.
  • In America, among college dropouts, 30% are freshman and a 40% overall dropout rate for undergraduate students.
  • 35% of Asian students dropped out at two-year colleges while only 10% of them dropped out at four-year institutions.
  • The most prominent reason for student dropout is financial constraints (38%) followed by academic disqualification (28%).
  • Meanwhile, 3% of students dropouts in universities were because of emotional/mental issues and 5% state that their health condition does not allow them to push through with their studies.
  • 36% of Alaska Natives/American Indians were more likely to drop out after their first two years in four-year colleges.
  • In A.Y. 2018-2019, about 21.9 million students were enrolled at undergraduate degrees in United States universities.
  • In 2019, 431,930 students in the U.S. were undergraduate, 377,943 students were graduate, 62,341 were non-degree students, and 223,085 were OPT workers.
  • According to SEVIS, 85% of non-immigrant students were enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified associate, doctoral, master, or bachelor programs in 2018.
  • California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts hosted about 50% of all non-immigrant students in the U.S.
  • In 2019, the visa application process/delay/denial became the top reasons why international students did not enroll in U.S. colleges.

Source: College Board


Cost of Studying at a University

While tuition is the first thing that comes to mind when the cost of studying is talked about, it is far from being the only concern of university students. Learning materials such as books, cost of rent, and events like field trips are just a few concerns that students and their families must take note of. Even then, expenses can still greatly vary when you consider other important factors, such as the course of the students and the type of institution they are planning to go to. With that said, top colleges that pay off the most are in demand. To get you ready for typical expenses, here are some of the costs that a student will have to shoulder when pursuing studies in a university.

  • The average annual tuition fee at MIT for foreign students is $46,704. Meanwhile, at Harvard University, it is $45,278.
  • The average yearly tuition fee at the University of Cambridge is $29,927 and $27,753 at the University of Oxford for international students.
  • Tsinghua University in China costs around $4,695 while the University of Barcelona’s tuition fee is approximately $1000 for international students.
  • In Canada, the University of Toronto’s tuition fee is $31,000 while Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology costs around $23,000 for foreign students.
  • The annual tuition and fees for full-time students at Princeton University, which won the top spot in US News & World Report's 2020 Best National University Ranking, is $51,870.
  • The average cost of yearly tuition and other fees at in-state U.S. universities in 2018 is $14,042. This is $504 more than last year’s figure.
  • $32,782 is the average yearly cost to attend an in-state university in the United States in 2018 when living on campus.
  • This number is progressively higher for each academic year with $18,325 in 2004, $24,185 in 2009, and $29,359 in 2014.
  • With a cost adding up to $60,650 per year, the District of Columbia is the most expensive state to study when living on-campus.
  • The cheapest state to live in when studying in-state at U.S. universities is Idaho with a yearly cost of $18,774.
  • In A.Y. 2019-2020, the average annual cost to attend private nonprofit, four-year universities, is $49,870. For a public two-year institution, the average annual cost is $12,720.
  • Meanwhile, in the same school year, public four-year universities will cost students $38,330 yearly to attend an out-of-state institution and $21,950 for an in-state one.
  • The average annual room and board cost for university students in 2018 were $10,869. It is more than double in price compared to the cost in 2000, which is $5,244.

Universities Remain as Key Components of Global Progress

A university is an important element for a nation that wants to progress. As such, more institutions and university programs are popping up all around the world. The belief that educational attainment is a good way of improving the socioeconomic status of aspiring students and their families is increasingly becoming more convincing. As a result, more students are enrolling at universities to pursue a study of higher knowledge, even at its financial cost. Some even brave the hardest majors ranked by average GPA---even if they are not their first choice---provided that they pay well.

Data related to universities are impossible to enumerate in a single article and thus, higher education students and educators alike are advised to read more about them to remain abreast of the different issues surrounding the topic. Trends are also on the constant shift so being on the lookout for something that could be of impact to them is a big help in anticipating the important information regarding higher education in the coming years.



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  2. Bergman, D. (2020, June 10). 2020 acceptance rates at Ivy League & elite colleges. College Transitions.
  3. Duffin, E. (2020, January 30a) Cost to attend university per year US 2000-2018. Statista.
  4. Duffin, E. (2020, January 30b). University tuition costs and fees US 2000-2018. Statista.
  5. Duffin, E. (2020, January 30c). Room and board cost per year at US universities 2000-2018. Statista.
  6. Duffin, E. (2019, November 20). Average cost to attend a US university, by institution type 2013/14 - 2019/20. Statista.
  7. Duffin, E. (2019, September 28). Annual tuition and fees at leading universities US 2019/20. Statista.
  8. Espinosa, L.L., Turk, J.M., Taylor, M., & Chessman, H.M. (2019). Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
  9. NCES (2019). Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2018, Fall Enrollment component. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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