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What college was like the year you were born

  • 2001: 9/11 sparks interest in Middle Eastern studies

    - Total enrollment: 13.7 million (43.8% male; 56.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.0 million (80.1% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.7 million (19.9% of total)

    Interest in Middle Eastern studies at colleges and universities increased after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Colleges also saw a rise in people wishing to study Arabic as a second language, according to Jason Lane, a professor at the University of Albany.

  • 2002: Education department weakens ban on recruitment bonuses

    - Total enrollment: 14.3 million (43.4% male; 56.6% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.4 million (80.2% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 2.8 million (19.8% of total)

    The Department of Education weakened earlier regulations on incentive compensation for employees at for-profit colleges in 2002. It would now allow schools to adjust recruiter wages twice annually, as long as the salary changes were not solely the result of student recruitment or financial aid awards, according to David Deming, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence Katz, authors of “For-Profit Colleges.”

  • 2003: Supreme Court establishes new criteria for affirmative action

    - Total enrollment: 14.5 million (43.0% male; 57.0% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.5 million (79.6% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.0 million (20.4% of total)

    The Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Gratz v. Bollinger established stricter affirmative action standards for undergraduate admissions, per The Chronicle of Higher Education. While the decision still allowed race to be a factor in admissions, affirmative action criteria must be more narrowly tailored to comply with the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

  • 2004: College students embrace social media

    - Total enrollment: 14.8 million (42.9% male; 57.1% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.7 million (78.8% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.1 million (21.2% of total)

    Mark Zuckerberg and his classmates founded Facebook in 2004. Initially started as a way to connect students at Harvard University, it was quickly expanded to students at other universities, providing a new way for people on campus to interact.

  • 2005: Hurricanes batter college campuses

    - Total enrollment: 15.0 million (42.8% male; 57.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.7 million (78.2% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.3 million (21.8% of total)

    Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused $1.4 billion worth of destruction at 27 universities and colleges in the Southern U.S. in 2005, per Katherine Mangan of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some schools were forced to close for the semester, displacing around 100,000 students, according to Elizabeth F. Farrell and Eric Hoover of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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  • 2006: Women earn more doctorates than men

    - Total enrollment: 15.2 million (42.9% male; 57.1% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 11.8 million (78.0% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.3 million (22.0% of total)

    Female students earned more doctorate degrees than men for the first time in U.S. history in the 2005–06 academic year. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that 50.1% of all doctorate degrees earned that year went to women. Female students have continued to earn more doctorates than their male counterparts every year since.

  • 2007: 32 people killed in shooting at Virginia Tech

    - Total enrollment: 15.6 million (43.1% male; 56.9% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 12.1 million (77.8% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.5 million (22.2% of total)

    A senior at Virginia Tech opened fire at the university on April 16, 2007, killing 32 students and faculty. The massacre is considered one of the country’s deadliest mass shootings, per CNN.

  • 2008: First massive open online course draws thousands

    - Total enrollment: 16.3 million (43.2% male; 56.8% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 12.6 million (77.0% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 3.8 million (23.0% of total)

    Around 2,200 students attended the first massive open online course (MOOC) in September 2008, per The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some 25 students paid tuition for the experience, showing universities that online learning could eventually be a financially sustainable endeavor.

  • 2009: Community colleges hold classes 24 hours a day

    - Total enrollment: 17.5 million (43.3% male; 56.7% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 13.4 million (76.7% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 4.1 million (23.3% of total)

    Some community colleges began scheduling classes almost 24 hours every day in 2009, according to a New York Times article referenced in “For-Profit Colleges.” The round-the-clock offering was a response to a spike in enrollment during the economic recession.

  • 2010: Federal government triples Pell Grant spending

    - Total enrollment: 18.1 million (43.3% male; 56.7% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 13.7 million (75.8% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 4.4 million (24.2% of total)

    The federal government spent $35 billion on the Pell Grant program in the 2010–11 academic year. That number was more than triple what the government spent on the higher education grant program in 2000–01, according to David Deming, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence Katz, authors of “For-Profit Colleges.”

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