50th Anniversary Logo heri logo heri home

The American Freshman: Fifty-Year Trends 1966–2015

Examining trends based upon 50 years worth of data on incoming college students provides a great deal of insight not only into how higher education has changed, but also how society and public opinion have evolved over the past five decades. The makeup of the entering freshman class at colleges and universities in 1966 was much more homogenous than the composition of the cohort of students who started college in the fall of 2015. Colleges and universities in 1966 enrolled greater proportions of students who identified as male, White, religiously-affiliated, and middle- or upper-income compared to the entering freshman class of 2015. The increasing diversity at colleges and universities reflects demographic shifts in society, though students from certain racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds remain underrepresented within higher education.

Download Report Press Release

CIRP Surveys

Linking student experiences and attitudes to institutional practices and student learning outcomes

Register Now

CIRP Freshman Survey

The CIRP Freshman Survey is designed for administration to incoming first-year students before they start classes at your institution.

» Learn More

HERI Faculty Survey

The HERI Faculty Survey provides institutions with a comprehensive, research-based picture of key aspects of the faculty experience.

» Learn More

HERI Blog Feature

2016 Diverse Learning Environments Research Brief

We are pleased to announce our latest research brief based on the 2016 Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) survey, administered to more than 35,000 students from 30 institutions. Results from the multi-institutional DLE sample, also highlighted in an infographic, reveal students? perceptions of campus diversity, identity salience, diversity courses, and student actions to address bias and ...

Read More »

More From the HERI Blog

Visualizing the 2015 Survey Findings

We have created infographic posters depicting the 2015 DLE, CSS, and YFCY survey findings so you can share the survey results on campus. We also created a customizable version of the infographics which you can use to compare your own institution's survey results. The static and customizable versions of the infographic are available for free download.

Get Your Free Copy

  • DLE
    2015 DLE
  • CSS
    2015 CSS
  • YFCY
    2015 YFCY

Remembering Helen "Lena" Astin, 1932-2015

It is with heavy hearts that we said goodbye earlier this week to an incredible scholar and friend, Helen "Lena" Astin, who passed away on Tuesday, October 27th. Born in Serres, Greece in 1932, Lena came to the U.S. in 1951 to pursue an education in psychology. Having earned her bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University in 1953 ...

Continue Reading »

CIRP Freshman Survey Results for 2015

College students’ commitment to activism, civic engagement reach all-time highs

Colleges and universities across the U.S. experienced an increase in student activism over the past year, as students protested rising college costs and hostile racial climates on their campuses. Now, findings from UCLA’s annual CIRP Freshman Survey (PDF) suggest that participation in demonstrations may intensify in the months ahead. Read More

Findings from the 2015 Administration

Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) Survey

This year, 2015, marked the survey’s fifth administration. The survey collected data from 19,580 student respondents attending 26 colleges and universities across the United States. In this research brief, we discuss students’ experiences with witnessing discrimination on campus, analyze how students contest discrimination, and suggest practices that may lower instances of discrimination on campuses.

Continue Reading » Download Research Brief

College Senior Survey (CSS)

The College Senior Survey (CSS) has been administered by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) since 1993. This year marked the survey’s 23rd administration; it contains data from 23,523 seniors graduating from 95 colleges and universities across the United States. In this research brief, we discuss students' future plans, students' loans, and views on social issues.

Continue Reading » Download Research Brief

Your First College Year (YFCY) Survey

Developed in 2000, the Your First College Year survey (YFCY) was the first national survey designed specifically to measure student development in the first year of college, and it is distributed to students at the end of their first year of college. The YFCY was administered for the 16th time in the Spring of 2015, when 11,267 students at 46 institutions participated in the survey.

Continue Reading » Download Research Brief

Other Research Briefs

Why are all the black students still sitting together in the proverbial college cafeteria?
A look at research informing the figurative question being taken by the Supreme Court in Fisher

By Uma M. Jayakumar

Read Research Brief Get Your Free Copy

Discrimination and Bias, Underrepresentation, and Sense of Belonging on Campus

By Sylvia Hurtado and Adrian Ruiz Alvarado

Read Research Brief Get Your Free Copy