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What college was like the year you were born

  • 1991: Graduate student kills five people on campus

    - Total enrollment: 12.4 million (44.8% male; 55.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.1 million (81.6% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.3 million (18.4% of total)

    A graduate student from China opened fire at the University of Iowa in November 1991 after his doctoral dissertation failed to win an award, per Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times. The shooting spree, which occurred before mass shootings were common, left five people dead, according to Gage Miskimen of The Daily Iowan.

  • 1992: Government bans bonuses for recruiters at for-profit colleges

    - Total enrollment: 12.5 million (44.5% male; 55.5% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.2 million (81.5% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.3 million (18.5% of total)

    In an effort to regulate incentives for employees at for-profit colleges to recruit more students, the federal government enacted the Higher Education Amendments of 1992. The legislation banned for-profit universities from giving their staff any commissions or bonuses tied to student enrollment or financial aid, per David Deming, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence Katz, authors of “For-Profit Colleges.”

  • 1993: Law stops colleges from forcing professors to retire

    - Total enrollment: 12.3 million (44.5% male; 55.5% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.0 million (81.2% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.3 million (18.8% of total)

    After a temporary exemption to the Age Discrimination in Employment Amendments of 1986 expired in 1993, college and universities were no longer allowed to force professors to retire at the age of 70. The law only applied to professors “serving under a contract of unlimited tenure,” per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

  • 1994: Universities disclose statistics on gender in sports

    - Total enrollment: 12.3 million (44.2% male; 55.8% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 9.9 million (81.1% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.3 million (18.9% of total)

    Congress passed the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act in 1994 in an effort to bring greater gender equality to college sports programs. The law requires that coed colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs and offer intercollegiate sports report information on their men’s and women’s teams’ roster sizes, recruiting budgets, scholarships, coaches’ salaries, and more.

  • 1995: Thomas Kane promotes need-based financial aid

    - Total enrollment: 12.2 million (44.2% male; 55.8% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 9.9 million (81.0% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.3 million (19.0% of total)

    “Rising Public College Tuition and College Entry: How Well Do Public Subsidies Promote Access to College?” by economist Thomas Kane was published in July 1995. The paper argued that the rising cost of tuition caused disparity in university enrollment rates between students from rich and poor families, and that need-based financial aid could help narrow the gap.

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  • 1996: Court rules against race-based affirmative action in admissions

    - Total enrollment: 12.3 million (44.0% male; 56.0% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 9.9 million (80.6% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.4 million (19.4% of total)

    In 1996, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hopwood v. Texas that universities could not use racial preferences as part of admissions criteria, according to The Center for Individual Rights. It was considered a blow to affirmative action policies.

  • 1997: United Nations recommends standards for universities

    - Total enrollment: 12.5 million (43.9% male; 56.1% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.0 million (80.4% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.4 million (19.6% of total)

    In 1997, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization put forth formal recommendations of standards that colleges and universities around the world should establish for their teaching faculties. The standards spotlighted the importance of autonomy for institutes of higher education and academic freedom.

  • 1998: Professors get age-based retirement incentives

    - Total enrollment: 12.4 million (43.8% male; 56.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.0 million (80.0% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.5 million (20.0% of total)

    Congress passed the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. The law granted colleges and universities permission to provide special retirement incentives for tenured professors on the basis of age. It replaced an earlier rule that allowed institutions of higher education to force tenured faculty members to retire at a certain age.

  • 1999: Revenues at for-profit colleges grow

    - Total enrollment: 12.7 million (43.8% male; 56.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.2 million (79.9% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.6 million (20.1% of total)

    The year 1999 began a period of growth at for-profit institutions of higher education. Schools in this sector would see their revenue grow by 40% and enrollments expand by 30% by 2004, per William Beaver of the American Association of University Professors.

  • 2000: Market downturn impacts college endowments

    - Total enrollment: 13.2 million (43.9% male; 56.1% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 10.5 million (80.1% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.6 million (19.9% of total)

    A 13-year bull market that began in 1987 boosted university endowments by millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars, per The Chronicle of Higher Education. The dot-com bubble burst in 2000, ending the period of substantial growth.

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