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New York State College and University 
Enrollment Projections, 2003 to 2013

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Assumptions and Caveats

The results of this model highlight the effects of general demographic changes on future enrollment at colleges and universities. Such variables as participation rates, survival rates, and market shares of individual colleges and universities were held constant for the projection period. No attempt was made to assess and incorporate the effects of possible changes in economic conditions, student aid funding, college and university fiscal resources, admissions policies, cultural or socioeconomic changes in the population, or other factors. Since these variables were held constant, the model did not predict significant shifts in market shares of sectors or individual institutions.

The model did not address certain shifts in population characteristics/elements. For example, while we know that members of minority groups constitute an increasing share of New York State's population, at present we are not able to identify specific changes in minority enrollment in colleges and universities. Fundamental demographic shifts of this nature may be addressed later. The model did address the nature of overall changes in the number and distribution of prospective students in the state. For example, we identified in some detail the consequences of relatively greater population growth downstate.  The Mid-Hudson, New York City, and Long Island regions will contribute more of the population enrolled in colleges and universities than they have in the past (Table 4).

Figures 2 and 3

New York State In-State College Going Rates of Recent High School Graduates: 1998: 58.1%; 1999: 59.4%; 2000: 59.5%; 2001: 60.6%; 2002: 63.3%

New York State Degree Credit Enrollment: Actual 1998-2002, Projected 2003-2013; Percent Headcount Change: 5.5%; Percent Full-Time Equivalent Change: 6.8%  

Figure 4
Regional Contribution to Projected Enrollment Growth, 2003-2013

Pie chart of projected growth: New York City, 34%; Long Island, 29%; Mid-Hudson, 17%; Central, 11%; Northeast, 4%; Western, 3%; Genesee Valley, 3%; Northern, 0.1%


Methods and Definitions of Terms

This model employed six major steps repeated in varying ways for each enrollment group - full or part-time undergraduates, graduate students, and first-professional degree students:

  1. Collating historical enrollment and gathering or developing high school graduate and population projections;

  2. Calculating historical and projected participation rates;

  3. Calculating projected pools of students in eight Regents Higher Education Regions;

  4. Calculating projected market shares of institutions for regional pools;

  5. Distributing projected student pools to each institution;

  6. Using cohort survival data from each degree-granting institution to estimate the total enrollment of full-time undergraduates.

  • Enrollment data. The model used four years of historical enrollment data by institution. It also included two years of enrollments by institution with student region of origin. Numbers of high school graduates by county were projected for the years 2003 to 2013. Grade progression ratios by county were projected from enrollment figures for first through twelfth grade for 1998-2002.  Finally, the latest Census projections for each county by age group to the year 2013 (from Cornell Statistical Services External Link Image Icon), in conjunction with predicted high school graduates, formed the basis for college enrollment predictions.

  • Participation rates refer to the proportion of a population that attends colleges and universities in New York State. Rates were calculated for specific age groups, student levels, and attendance levels in each geographical/regional pool.

  • Projection of student pools. Multiplying a projected age group population by that age group's projected participation rate resulted in a projected total enrolled student pool. For full-time, first-time undergraduates, the age groups were recent high school graduates, 20 to 24 year olds, and 25 to 29 year olds. Those used in the projection of part-time undergraduate and graduate student pools were 15 to 19, 20 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 49, and 50+.

  • Institutional market share consists of each institution's actual enrollments divided by the total statewide enrollment for students from each regional pool. Each college had market shares calculated for each type of student it enrolls. A market share was assigned to every institution for every age group and geographic pool of students.

  • Distribution of projected student pools. Projected student pools were distributed by multiplying each institution's projected share of each type of enrolled student by the projected pool of that type of student.

  • Cohort survival. The use of cohort techniques for full-time, first-time undergraduates (incoming freshmen) involved calculating a survival rate unique to each institution. Applying this rate to predicted incoming freshmen generated the numbers of continuing full-time undergraduates.

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