For many, college is easily the most memorable and eventful chapter of one’s life. It is at that moment that many of us finally move out of our parent’s home, no longer feeling like kids but rather actual adults with complete freedom to dictate our own life.
It is also the time when we are partaking in a great number of activities and gaining different types of experiences. Moreover, many of the people we meet during college will become our life-long friends and perhaps even more than that.
That being said, here are 17 college students stats that are guaranteed to surprise you and change your perspective on today’s college life.
Top Ten College Student Statistics for 2021
- The pressure of college life can lead to suicide.
- 4 in 5 college students feel overwhelmed by their life.
- 1 in 10 of sampled college students in the US, in 2016, identified as a member of the LGBT community.
- 30% of college students drop out before their second year.
- 41% of recent graduates work in jobs not requiring a degree.
- The number of degree-holders worldwide will reach 300 million by 2030.
- The student loan debt reached a record $1.56 trillion this year.
Life and College—How Does College Affect Students?
Hollywood teaches us about all the fun college experiences—relationships, parties, new friends, and Greek letters of fraternities. However, numbers show a slightly different picture.
College is nice, indeed, but let’s see who college students, how they identify, how successful they turn out to be, and how this experience affects their lives.
1. 1 in 10 of sampled college students in the US, in 2016, identified as a member of the LGBT community.
Regarding LGBT college students, statistics reveal that an estimated 10% of the sampled students identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, asexual, pansexual, or questioning in 2016. This is more than double the national figure, which was 4.1% in 2016.
2. 1 in 5 college women in the US has been sexually assaulted.
Several surveys confirmed the statement that 20% of women attending college in the US would become victims of sexual assault.
Speaking of college students, stats show that college men were also at risk of becoming victims of sexual assault but at roughly three times lower rate than women. It is also estimated that around 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses will not report the assault.
3. 30% of college students drop out before their second year.
In the United States, 30% of college freshmen would drop out before their sophomore year. The overall college dropout rate in 2019 for a four-year degree was 40%. 2 in 5 of those who drop out also have parents who didn’t finish college.
4. Serial rapists account for nearly 90% of all college rapes.
Insights from numerous rape statistics on college campuses reveal that the overwhelming majority of rape cases were inflicted by serial predators, with an average of six rapes per perpetrator.
5. The unemployment rate of young college graduates in the US is higher than that of the general population.
(New York Fed)
Data from December last year shows that the unemployment rate for young adults in the US aged 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree or higher was at 3.9%, slightly higher than the 3.6% unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 65.
However, it should also be noted that the figure is still lower than the unemployment rate for 22–27-year-olds without a four-year degree, which stood at 6.5%.
6. 41% of recent graduates work in jobs not requiring a degree.
(Inside Higher Ed )
The latest college graduate employment statistics released by the Federal Bank of New York reveal that 41% of recent college graduates — and 33.8% of all college graduates — are underemployed. They mostly work in jobs that don’t ask for a degree.
7. The median salary of those with a college degree is, on average, 56% higher than that of non-degree holders.
(USA Today) (The Christian Science Monitor)
There is a higher success rate of college graduates when compared to non-graduates in the US. On average, they earn a wage that is 56% higher than that of non-graduates.
The gathered data also shows that the former is also more likely to be employed and have easier access to higher-paying jobs. According to the latest reports, only 5% of college graduates are on food stamps compared to 37% of high school graduates.
8. The number of degree-holders worldwide will reach 300 million by 2030.
The total number of college graduates per year worldwide is rising rapidly. Back in 2013, the total number of degree-holders globally was around 137 million. However, it is projected to reach 300 million in just a decade from now.
China and India, both developing countries with a large population and high economic growth would be the biggest drivers behind the increase. Both of these two countries will also account for nearly half of all university graduates by the same year.
9. The student loan debt reached a record $1.56 trillion this year.
Within the US, statistics on college debt reveal that there are currently 44.7 million people with outstanding debt due to student loans, representing a collective sum of $1.56 trillion, or an average of $32,731 per debtor.
Student loans today represent the second-highest consumer debt category — behind only mortgage debt.
10. First-generation students are likely to be from ethnic minorities and have dependents.
First-generation college student statistics compiled by the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) reveal that those students are mainly represented by ethnic groups from underprivileged backgrounds.
41% of African-American and 61% of Latino students are a part of this demographic, in contrast to 25% of Caucasian and Asian-American students.
First-generation students were also more likely to be older and have dependents, with the average starting age being 24 years and 60% of them having dependents.
11. Most first-generation students attend a two-year school.
While the majority of postsecondary students would go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree, first-generation college students, as statistics show, are more likely to aim for a two-year college diploma. In the academic year 2011/12, only 1 in 4 of first-generation students attended a four-year institution.
12. 50% of those enrolled in for-profit colleges are first-generation students.
Surprisingly, despite for-profits costing twice as much as non-profit colleges, and the fact that the majority of first-generation students come from a low-income background, first-generation college student statistics show that they still make up half of those enrolled in such institutions.
13. Only 1 in 10 of low-income, first-generation college students will attain a college degree within six years of enrolling, compared to about 5 in 10 of their more advantaged peers.
It is estimated that around 11% of low-income, first-generation college students go on to complete their college within six years of enrolling. In contrast, stats on college students show that about 55% of their more advantaged peers who are neither low-income nor first-generation will manage to get a degree.
How Does College Affect Mental Health?
College is an experience that marks one’s passage to adulthood and can the pressure we feel can sometimes get out of hand. Numerous studies have shown that college students are susceptible to developing mental health issues, and these are some of the most alarming ones.
14. Depression in college students, according to statistics, is more common than ever before.
Depression, as well as other related mental disorders, has more than doubled among college students in less than a decade, according to a nation-wide study done by the Journal of Adolescent Health last year.
Interestingly, when talking about college students, stats within this study seem to indicate that the trend began to worsen significantly around the year 2012. This was also when smartphones became more common, and social media moved from being optional to mandatory among the younger demography, one of the researchers noted.
Unfortunately, many students turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to alleviate their mental health issues, and they eventually become addicted to those dangerous substances.
15. The pressure of college life can lead to suicide.
A high-pressure environment coupled with high levels of anxiety and stress makes college students — and young adults, in general — highly vulnerable to attempting suicide. After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
16. 4 in 5 college students feel overwhelmed by their life.
Because of studies, expectations, and often the need to manage their finances, today’s students are unable to keep up with the demands of their daily existence. College student mental health statistics show that 80% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year, and 45% felt completely hopeless.
17. Among the primary reasons for not attending college was mental health.
Roughly 64% of young adults no longer attending college cited mental health issues as the primary reason. Many also said that their mental issues had become so severe that it was difficult to function properly and focus on academia.
What percentage of college students actually graduate?
The Department of Education’s statistics on college students shows that for those enrolled in a standard 4-year route towards a bachelor’s degree at a public institute, the rate of graduation is only 33.3%. For those taking six years, the graduation rate is 57.6%. Private institutes grant a higher figure, with graduation rates of 52.8% for 4 years, and 65.4% for a 6-year route.
What causes mental illness in college students?
(Psychology Today )
Some common factors have proven to be extremely detrimental to the mental health of college students. One is the increasing digitalization of the social sphere, especially among young adults. This, even though it has made people hyperconnected, has also led to heightened mental fatigue as a result of information overload.
Since most users are likely to only post positive aspects of their lives, it has also led to a false perception of reality, especially young adults. This often leads to an unhealthy social comparison of one’s life against someone else’s false reality.
Another factor is the type of information that is most available. Constant exposure to psychologically disturbing or manipulative content, negative stories, and conflicting narratives all can lead to heightened stress, worries, and anxiety. These vulnerabilities are further heightened by the highly stressful and demanding atmosphere of college life.
What is the most common mental illness among college students?
According to a survey conducted by Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD), it was found that anxiety is the greatest concern among college students, with 41.6% of those surveyed suffering from it. The second most common illness was depression, at 36.4%.
What is the percentage of black students in college?
Students of African descent are more likely to be enrolled in college compared to other minority ethnicities in the US. Currently, the figure stands at 37% compared to 36% and 24% for non-white Hispanics and Native Americans, respectively. The figure was close to the national average for Caucasians at 42% and above-average for Asians at 59%.
What percentage of college graduates are female?
Since 1982, the degree gap has tilted towards women more than men in the US, and the figure has been rising steadily every year. Based on the estimates from the US Department of Education, women today earn 61.6% of all associate’s degrees, 56.7% of all bachelor’s degrees, 59.9% of all master’s degrees, and 51.6% of all doctor’s degrees.
However, the trend isn’t exclusive to the US — the shift is being witnessed all around the globe, even in developing countries.
The world is changing rapidly, and today’s college life is a reflection of that. While in some aspects, college life may have gotten harder, in other areas such as acceptance, diversity, and growing rights, awareness has made colleges more inclusive.
We hope that you’ve found these surprising college students stats to be a worthwhile read. Do consider sharing it with others who may also find these stats and figures helpful. Want to share any part of your college experience? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below.