65 University Statistics You Must See in 2021/2022: Analysis of Enrollment & Funding

The threat of COVID-19 has put more than 250 million university students worldwide in harm’s way. This is why education officials acted swiftly to cancel classes and migrate to online classes last year, but not without the drawback: the entire school year in disarray. So, how are the universities performing, even surviving for some, and what’s the outlook in the years ahead?

This article lists a number of interesting facts and figures on how universities have been affected by the pandemic. It also showcases other key non-COVID-19 university statistics such as market shares, enrollment rates, funding, rankings, etc. of universities in the US and around the world. This will provide you with helpful information about universities in general before, during, and most likely after the global pandemic.

university statistics

University & COVID-19 Statistics

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the generally safe and august campus halls of universities around the world. Will the changes this deadly virus had made be temporary or long-term? No one knows the definite answer to this, but one thing’s for sure: universities are likely to learn more from this unfortunate global event and emerge as better, more efficient institutions of higher learning in the near future. Here are some notable university-related COVID-19 statistics:

In-Country Universities and Students

  • Over 1.5 million students worldwide had been displaced due to the closure of more than 185 universities and schools in April 2020. (International Association of Universities, 2020) 
  • As of December 2020, there were a total of 397,000 cases and 90 fatalities due to COVID-19. (The New York Times, 2020)
  • Before the end of 2020, around 30% of enrolled university students already made plans to stop studying due to the pandemic. (Gallup, 2020)
  • Another study found that 62.1% of US university students have changed their study plans since the pandemic began, or an increase of only 1% compared to the previous year. (The World University Rankings, 2020)
  • Over 680 American colleges have reported at least a hundred cases of COVID-19 infection. (The New York Times, 2020)
  • Around 50% of currently enrolled university students report that the pandemic will likely affect their capability to finish their studies. (Gallup, 2020) 
  • To date, more than 85 colleges have reported at least 1,000 COVID-19 cases. (The New York Times, 2020)
  • The remaining two weeks of on-campus classes at Stanford University were canceled by school administrators. (US News, 2020)
  • Because of the pandemic, 23% of students have become interested in pursuing a master’s degree to become more marketable in a likely volatile labor market. (THE World University Rankings, 2020) 
  • In the EU, 95% of students had shifted to distance learning throughout their universities. (European University Association, 2021)
  • 87% of European HEIs are now planning to identify new teaching methods, while 70% are seeking to boost their digital capability. (EUA, 2021)
  • 80% of EU HEIs indicated that they had already set up online educational materials repositories to support digitally enhanced teaching and learning at the onset of the pandemic. (EUA, 2021)
  • The University of Southern California is testing its online study systems to guarantee its capability to manage more than 7,000 lectures. (THE World University Rankings, 2020)
  • Until after spring break 2021, in-class lectures were banned at the University of Washington. (US News, 2020)
  • Despite the impact of COVID-19, 76% of American undergraduate students consider the quality of their education as “very good” or “excellent.” (Gallup, 2020)
  • About 40% of EU students had either lost or stopped their jobs and become dependent on their families to continue their studies. (EUA, 2020)

Losses due to COVID-19

  • The University of Arizona is predicting to lose $250 million because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Forbes, 2020)
  • The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which manages around 14 universities, forecasts to lose around $100 million from non-tuition fees. (Forbes, 2020)
  • Since the onset of the pandemic, Syracuse University has lost $35 million in accidental expenses. (Forbes, 2020)
  • The University of Michigan expects to lose from $400 million to $1 billion because of COVID-19. (Forbes, 2020)
  • The University of Wisconsin at Madison projects a $100 million loss because of the effect of the pandemic. (Forbes, 2020)

On International Students

  • Since the pandemic outbreak, the number of international students who intend to study abroad moderately increased to 56.5%, from last year’s 51.9%. (THE World University Rankings, 2020)
  • 53% of EU universities report that international students were stranded at their campuses because of the pandemic. (International Association of Universities, 2020b) 
  • 830 Chinese students have failed to go back to the US to continue their studies. (Institute of International Education, 2020)
  • 3% of Europe-based international students were grounded at foreign institutions. (IAU, 2020c)
  • 25% of EU-based international students suspended their mobility for the time being. (International Association of Universities, 2020b)

Source: Gallup (2020)

General University Statistics

Unlike in high school, where you learn a broad range of disciplines, regardless of your interest, college can be more focused. As a result, a lot of people are thinking of going to universities to pursue their passion. Relevant college statistics reveal that there are 2.6 million college graduates each year in the US. That number alone is proof of how bustling the degree earning sector is. Therefore, there is also a wealth of information that we could derive from it. Here are some of them:

  • There are 5,300 universities and colleges in the US. (Education Unlimited, 2019)
  • In 2019, the completion rates of six-year and eight-year courses in universities reached an all-time high of 60% and 62%, respectively. (Education Unlimited, 2019)
  • The annual tuition and other fees of a full-time university in the US can reach as high as $61,850. (US News, 2020)
  • Around 3.95 million higher education degrees were granted to students in the US in 2019. (NCES, n.d.)
  • California has the highest number of higher education institutions in the US, with 269 and 172 four-year and two-year schools, respectively. (NCES, 2019a)
  • Out of all the people aged 18 years and above in the US in 2018, 3.2 million were able to earn a professional degree, and 4.487 million received a master’s degree. (US Census Bureau, 2018)
  • In 2019, the average cost to attend universities was $49,870 for private nonprofit four-year schools and $12,720 for public two-year schools. (College Board, 2019a)

breakdown of colleges and universities in the US

College and Universities Enrollment Statistics

As mentioned, students receive more focused learning in universities and colleges. Moreover, they can earn higher degrees, which could help them secure a better future. Some go for the most expensive degrees from top US universities to pursue their interests. With the variety of higher education programs, it’s no wonder that universities attract different types of students. So, we’ve collected some of the interesting data about these various programs and the number of students who enroll in the post-secondary level. In this next list, we will show the college enrollment statistics by university, ethnicity, gender, and more.

  • There are 21.9 million students enrolled in American colleges and universities in 2019. (College Board, 2019b)
  • High school students from affluent households are 25% more likely to enroll in colleges and universities right after high school compared to students from low-income schools. (National Student Clearinghouse, 2019)
  • About 800 private colleges in the US have an enrollment figure of no more than 1,000 students. (EducationUnlimited, 2019)
  • In 2018, the number of undergrads who enrolled in US universities was 21.9 million. (College Board, 2019b)
  • Moreover, there’s a solid ethnic diversity for post-baccalaureate students who enrolled in a US university in 2018. Of the total number of students, there were 1.6 million Caucasians, 365,000 African-Americans, 292,400 Hispanics, 228,000 Pacific Islanders/Asians, and 13,600 Alaskan Natives/American Indians. (NCES, 2019b)
  • It was projected that in 2020, a total of approximately 1.8 million female and 1.2 million male post-baccalaureate students would have enrolled in a US university. (NCES, n.d.)
  • It was estimated that 9.4 million female undergrad students would have enrolled in US universities by 2020. Of these, 7.4 million students would be males. (NCES, n.d.)
  • Lastly, the University of Florida had the most number of enrollees in the US in 2019, with 58,913 students. Second to it was Texas A&M University with 53,743. It was then followed by Florida International University with 48,439 enrollees. (US News, 2020)

Source: NCES

Top Universities Statistics

Using university enrollment data, ranking rubrics, and other factors, award-giving bodies can determine which among universities stand out from the rest. This is an honor that each institution aspires to achieve. After all, the prestige that comes from this recognition will boost the number of their enrollees. Furthermore, they can gain more sponsors and funding so long as they prove how effective their educational system is. And what better way to do that than to enter the ranks of top universities that will give them the acknowledgment they need.

  • The number one university in the world, according to QS World University Rankings, is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). (Top Universities, 2021)
  • The top three universities in the US as of 2019 were MIT, Stanford University, and Harvard University. (Top Universities, 2019)
  • The top universities worldwide, according to Times Higher Education Rankings in 2020, are the University of Oxford, California Institute of Technology, and University of Cambridge. (Times Higher Education, 2020)
  • King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Science, Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology are all tied in first place for being the top universities according to Citations Per Faculty. (QS World University Rankings, 2020)
  • With 79,152 students, Liberty University from Lynchburg, VA, has the highest number of enrollees for both the Grad and Undergrad programs for A.Y. 2017–2018. (College Express, 2019)
  • In 2019, the university with the highest average GPA of 3.71 was Brown University. (Ripple Match, 2019)
  • Stanford University is the hardest university to get in to with an acceptance rate of 4% for A.Y. 2018–2019. (Ingenius Prep, 2019)

Leading University Worldwide

Best Universities According to Features

Ranking universities, according to their academic prowess, is indeed the best measure of their competence. However, students don’t just study in schools, not 24/7, at least. They also spend their time there socializing, resting, attending extra-curricular activities, and more. Thus, we’ve compiled a list that ranks universities and colleges in aspects that aren’t strictly adherent to academics.

  • In 2019, the top three US universities with the best dorms were Washington University, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and Texas Christian University. (Insider, 2019)
  • Washington University was regarded as the best university in the US with the best college dining, according to students. (Business Insider, 2019)
  • The University of California, Washington University in St. Louis, and Virginia Tech are three of the universities with the best college campuses in America. (Niche, 2021)
  • St. John’s College Old Library at the University of Cambridge was rated as the university library in the world. (Uniplaces, 2019)
  • Furthermore, a recent Forbes poll had ranked the University of Chicago in Illinois as the top university with the most expensive tuition fee, amounting to $75,735. (Forbes, 2019a)
  • Meanwhile, in another Forbes survey, Brigham Young University was rated as the best value college in America. (Forbes, 2019b)

University Funding, Revenue, and Expenditure Statistics

Universities, in some ways, function similarly to businesses. For instance, there’s a full suite of employees working for the institution. Also, they have expenditures to think about, and these numbers are not minimal. After all, providing quality learning materials and experiences to thousands of students can’t be cheap.

Some universities even provide dorms and housing facilities for their students. Moreover, these places where enrollees stay also need to keep up with the latest student housing trends, such as the creation of modern spaces for student housing, which further extends their expenses. Because of all these, universities must have their way of earning revenues and funds. This next set of statistics sheds light on how and how much money universities earn and spend.

  • The market size of universities and colleges in the US, measured by revenue, in 2020, reached $520.6 billion. (IBIS World, 2019)
  • US Department of Health and Human Services provided research programs at universities with funds amounting to $18.31 billion. (NCES, 2019c)
  • 1.7% — the growth rate of US universities’ and colleges’ market size in 2020. (IBIS World, 2019)
  • Besides, the annual market size growth of US universities and colleges from 2015 to 2020 is 2.6%. (IBIS World, 2019)
  • The three richest universities in the US by endowment funds market value are Harvard University ($39.43 billion), The University of Texas System ($30.96 billion), and Yale University ($30.31 billion). (Statista, 2019)
  • In 2019, the amount of higher education outlays in the US was $33 billion. (Congressional Budget Office, 2020)

Source: IBISWorld

Post-University Graduate Statistics

After graduating from universities, most students desperately seek out jobs. Thus, being underemployed for first jobs right after leaving school became the norm. However, according to Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass Technologies, the first job is critical (Burning-Glass, 2018). That’s because 87% of workers who held employment positions matching their levels of education are still in that job five years later. Here are more interesting facts about what comes after university. 

  • 91% of workers who were appropriately employed in their first job still hold that level 10 years later. (Burning-Glass, 2018)
  • 16% of higher-income school students earn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees six years after high school graduation. That’s double of their low-income counterpart’s 8%. (National Student Clearinghouse, 2019)
  • 47% of female graduates and 37% of male graduates were underemployed in their first jobs. (Burning-Glass, 2018)
  • Moreover, 43% of workers were underemployed in their first jobs. And among them, 66% were still in the same state after five years. (Burning-Glass, 2018)
  • Besides, the employment rate of young adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 86%. (NCES, 2020)

Disparity in earnings of graduates

The State of Universities in this Modern Time

Just like the Spanish Flu of 1918, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will likely help bring out the best in people. As the traditional bastion of knowledge, universities will likely assume a key role in helping the world recover from this global crisis.

Another insight you can gain from this set of statistics is how the universities are faring in these modern times. In a world where everything can be found online, is a university still a good and practical choice to spend four years in? The answer is definitely yes. There are millions of students in the US alone who graduate each year. Students from different walks of life and races flock in there to learn and earn their degrees. As also stated here, degree holders are generally more successful than those without.

True, it might not be for everyone. However, for someone who yearns to learn in this educational institution in today’s standard, they can do so with confidence that their time there can be productive. After all, universities aren’t being left out in modern times. For instance, schools use LMS for learning, which is one of the very definitions of a modern way of knowledge acquisition.

Also, if you’re looking for more interesting articles related to higher education, you can go ahead and read this one about student loans. This is especially useful if you have some student loans to pay for yourself. That’s because it provides helpful tips, such as how you can pay off your debt.



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  2. Business Insider. (n.d.). The 15 Best College Dining Halls in America, According to Students. Business Insider
  3. College Express. (2019). The 50 Largest US Colleges and Universities. College Express
  4. CollegeBoard. (2019b). Trends in Student Aid 2019. College Board
  5. Education Unlimited. (2019). How Many Universities & Colleges are in the US? Education Unlimited
  6. European University Association. (2021). Digitally Enhanced Learning and Teaching in European Higher Education Institutions. EUA
  7. Forbes. (2019a). America’s Top Colleges 2019. Forbes
  8. Forbes. (2020). Impact Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) On College Tuition And Finances. Forbes
  9. Gallup. (2020). Gallup State of the Student Experience: Fall 2020 Report. Gallup
  10. IBIS World. (2019). Colleges & Universities in the US – Market Size 2004–2027. IBIS World
  11. Ingenius Prep. (2019). 2018-19 College Acceptance Rates: Notable Admissions Trends. Ingenius Prep
  12. Insider. (2019). The 20 Best College Dorms in the US, Ranked. Insider
  13. Institute of International Education. (2020). COVID-19 Information and Resources. Institute of International Education
  14. International Association of Universities. (2020). Regional/National Perspectives on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education. International Association of Universities
  15. International Association of Universities. (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Around the World. International Association of Universities
  16. National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Degree-Granting Post-Secondary Institutions, by Control and Classification of Institution and State or Jurisdiction: 2017-18. NCES
  17. National Center for Education Statistics. (2019b). Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Post-Secondary Institutions, by Level of Enrollment, Sex, Attendance Status, and Race/Ethnicity or Nonresident Alien Status of Student: Selected years, 1976 through 2018. NCES
  18. National Center for Education Statistics. (2019c). Federal On-Budget Funds for Education, by Level/Educational Purpose, Agency, and Program: Selected Fiscal Years, 1970 through 2018. NCES
  19. National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). Employment Rates of College Graduates. NCES 
  20. National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). Degrees Conferred by Post-secondary Institutions, by Level of Degree and Sex of Student: Selected Years, 1869-70 through 2028-29. Retrieved from NCES
  21. National Student Clearing House Research Center. (2019). High School Benchmarks 2019: National College Progression Rates. National Student Clearing House Research Center
  22. Niche. (2021). 2021 Best College Campuses in America. Niche
  23. Ripple Match. (2019). The Top 20 Universities with the Highest Average GPAs. Ripple Match
  24. Statista. (2019). The 20 Richest Colleges in the United States in FY 2020, by Endowment Funds Market Value. Statista
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  30. Top Universities. (2021). Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Top Universities
  31. Uniplaces. (2019). 21 Best University Libraries in the World. Uniplaces
  32. US Census Bureau. (2018). Educational Attainment of the Population 18 Years and Over, by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 2018. US Census Bureau.
  33. US News. (2020). 2021 Best National University Rankings. US News
  34. US News. (2020). Coronavirus Takes Toll on K-12 and Higher Education. US News
Astrid Eira

By Astrid Eira

Astrid Eira is a resident B2B expert of FinancesOnline, focusing on the SaaS niche. She specializes in accounting and human resource management software, writing honest and straightforward reviews of some of the most popular systems around. Being a small business owner herself, Astrid uses her expertise to help educate business owners and entrepreneurs on how new technology can help them run their operations. She's an avid fan of the outdoors, where you'll find her when she's not crunching numbers or testing out new software.

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