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Trends in Out of State College Enrollment

Data provided by The U.S. Department of Education can be extracted for hundreds of data points. Some pieces are useful to students while others are not useful to current or prospective college students. Examples of useful data include things like acceptance rates, on-campus residence, number of enrolled graduate students, degrees offered, and enrollment at colleges by ethnicity.

Fascinating trends in residency for first-time college undergraduates by state is one such valuable data point from the Department of Education. This data, in laymans terms, helps us understand how many students move out of state to attend college.

Trends in Out-of-State College Enrollment

This data is significant as it helps you better understand the number of students matriculating away from home. While we will not go into the myriad reasons a student may elect to enroll in a college out-of-state, we will go through some interesting trends. Let the graph below guide your journey with us to get a better understanding of these enrollment numbers.

College Students Leaving Home to Study in Other States

Trends in enrollment numbers for out-of-state students across America.

In the graph above, the largest blocks represent the biggest number of college students attending college out-of-state. Conversely, the smaller the colored square the fewer students attending college in another state. While the states with the highest population tend to have more students matriculating out-of-state, there are a few outliers making the data very interesting. For example, take a look at Minnesota at 12,000 students attending school elsewhere. Why do you think the number of students attending college in another state are higher proportionally to their population base?

Making Sense of Out-of-State Enrollment Data

Data shows North Dakota and Mississippi as the states that have changed the most in the past five years. Both states have seen a rapid rise in students choosing to attend school out of state. A final note to consider, students in the following states preferred to stay near home relative to their peer states:

  • Kansas
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma

Quick facts:

  1. California has approximately 31,000 students attend college out-of-state
  2. Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have 22,000-25,000 students from each state attending school outside their home state
  3. The top 12 states represent more than half of the overall students attending school outside their state of residence
  4. Several Midwest states have students that tend to stay closer to home
  5. Mississippi and North Dakota saw the biggest increase in out-of-state students in the last 5 years

As you think about college for yourself or your children, keep in mind the many factors that go into choosing a college. For additional information on those factors and a comprehensive college admissions guide, read our award-winning resource today.

Finding Colleges by State

Gather information about in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities in a snap with our dedicated pages. The states listed below provide millions of students every year with the means to quickly assess the state universities, private colleges, liberal arts colleges, bible colleges, and community colleges by state. Our goal is to make it easier for you to gather the information you need to make a great decision about your future.

Alabama Indiana Nebraska Rhode Island
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Carolina
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire South Dakota
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
California Louisiana New Mexico Texas
Colorado Maine New York Utah
Connecticut Maryland North Carolina Vermont
D.C. Massachusetts North Dakota Virginia
Florida Michigan Ohio Washington
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma West Virginia
Hawaii Mississippi Oregon Wisconsin
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania Wyoming
Illinois Montana

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