33% of freshmen attend college within 50 miles of home

Many students stay close to home for higher ed

In a review of freshmen enrollment trends across the nation, the Chronicle of Higher Education found most students stay in state or go over just a border or two for college. 

More than one-third of students go to college within 50 miles of home, and most who decide to leave their home state attend a private institution in a nearby state.

However, more students are deciding to head out of state for college. Compared with 1998 levels, 42 states plus the District of Columbia saw more first-year students leaving for college in 2014. Among those states, seven saw more than twice the number of students heading elsewhere for higher education. But eight states experienced the opposite trend: fewer students traveled to a new state to attend college.

Nearly every state and the District of Columbia saw more students coming to them for college in 2014, compared with 1998. New York drew the most freshmen, while Alaska and Wyoming drew the least.

The analysis used data from the Education Department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System—though some figures were corrected after contacting institutions directly. The report examined only full-time, first-time, degree-seeking students (Hatch/O'Leary, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/16; Carter, EducationDive, 8/17). 

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