It’s the other March Madness: College acceptance season is underway, with schools now sending out e-mails and letters to students across the country about whether they have been admitted or rejected. A new study says that the madness may ease over the next decade as the number of high school graduates drops.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education released its annual “Knocking At The College Door,” which says that the peak year for high school graduates was 2010-11, when the total number from public and nonpublic reached 3.4 million.
For the 2013-14 school year, the number of graduates from high school is expected to fall to between 3.2 million and 3.3 million. It won’t be until 2020-21 that there will be a sustained jump in the number of graduates, which will continue through 2026-27, according to the report.
The change in the number of graduates will vary according to state and region, the report says. Through this decade, these are some projections:
*Dwindling production (losses of 15 percent or more): The District of Columbia, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont (six states).
*Slowing production (losses of between 5 and 15 percent): Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (17 states).
*Manageable decline (losses of less than 5 percent): Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, and West Virginia (seven states).
Manageable growth (increases of less than 5 percent): Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington (12 states).
Accelerated expansion (increases of between 5 and 15 percent): Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming (six states).
*Swift expansion (increases greater than 15 percent): Colorado, Texas, and Utah (three states)
The demographics of the high school graduating cohort is changing too. The report says that 2019-20, 45 percent will be non-white; in 2009, it was 38 percent. It says there will be:
*228,000 fewer white non-Hispanic graduates (a decline of 12 percent).*About 197,000 more Hispanic graduates (anincrease of 41 percent).*49,000 more Asian/Pacific Islander graduates (an increase of 30 percent).*41,000 fewer Black non-Hispanic graduates (a decline of 9 percent).*More than 500 additional American Indian/Alaska Native graduates (an increase of just under 2 percent
Of course, how much competitive difference students will notice at the most selective colleges is open to question. As a reminder of the odds at some of these schools, note that Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., just sent out a release saying that it had accepted 4,554 students from 32,772 applications, the highest number it had ever received. That’s a 13.9 percent acceptance rate, down from 27 percent in 2007.