According to data collected from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 60.6% of colleges experienced flat or declining enrollment growth while only 39.4% experienced increasing enrollment growth from 2013-2014. This is also very consistent with statistics from 2012-2013.


College enrollment growth may be hard to sustain and have ebbs and flows based on new programs or strategic investments. I wanted to follow a methodology to uncover those colleges with sustained enrollment growth over a five year period. This is like the kinds of methodologies we see for company growth in publications like Fortune Magazine.




My methodology was based on a minimum of 500 students in 2010 and I required that the growth be at least 10% year-over-year (YOY) for every year from 2010 to 2014. Finally, the schools had to have an existing Carnegie Classification. I used Public Insight to define individual YOY growth conditions and then ranked the schools by the overall five year enrollment growth. See my methodology and the calculations in the video.


Surprisingly only 12 schools fit this criteria of sustained enrollment growth. In digging deeper, I also found the top 7 and 8 of the 12 had more than 50% of the student population enrolled exclusively in distance education. Distance education has only been captured for the past three years by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) so I am interested in exploring this topic further. The 12 schools that fit my criteria and their 5 year enrollment growths follow. Schools with a predominant distance education approach are highlighted in red.


Chamberlain College of Nursing – Illinois (1,140.20%)
Southern New Hampshire University (438.64%)
Concordia University – Portland (251.70%)
Miller-Motte College – Wilmington (190.52%)
Brigham Young University – Idaho (145.26%)
Western Governors University (157.02%)

Central Christian College of Kansas (124.90%)
Hondros College (118.39%)
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (90.25%)
University of Hawaii – West Oahu (80.90%)
University of the Cumberlands (73.82%)
California Baptist University (68.86%)


By clicking on this link, you can download a complete list of U.S. colleges with individual enrollment growth metrics for each of the past five years and the overall five year enrollment growth.

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