Report on the Age of Colleges and an Analysis of New College Accreditation

By Stig Leschly
June 1, 2022

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The vast majority of college students in the US attend a college that is more than 40 years old, and few new 2YR and 4YR colleges have been accredited in the past 20 years. These are two of the findings from our analysis of the age of US colleges and the process of new college accreditation.

We set out to understand the age of current colleges, the distribution of college students by college age, and the rate and characteristics of new college formation. Our report is empirical and does not make recommendations for policy or practice. We hope our analysis prompts further research and debate on the optimal rate and nature of new college formation in US higher education which, as we show, is populated by an old and fixed set of institutions.

Immediately below you can read the full report (embedded) as well as download both the report and our master data file.

We have also created interactive charts from our report that allow you to navigate our findings on when new colleges (of various types) were accredited and on which accreditors have been most/least active in approving new colleges.

Download Full Report

Download Source Data

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