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Higher Education in a Warming World

Higher Education in a Warming World

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Published by: ICICP on Jul 28, 2011
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Thenation’stwo-yearandfour-yearcollegesanduniversitieshaveameasurableimpactontheU.S.
economyanditsgreenhousegasemissions.Collectively,theyspendover$360billionannuallyandhold
roughlythesameamountinendowmentinvestments.Thehighereducationsectorrepresentsabout3%
ofU.S.GDPand2%oftheworkforce.7

Nineofevery100Americansaged18-64currentlyattendsacollegeoruniversityand28%ofthe
populationeventuallywillearnabachelor’sdegree.9

Between1995and2005,enrollmentincreasedby

23%,andfrom2005and2015isexpectedtoclimb
ataslowerrate(14%)to19.9millionstudents.
Includingstaffandadministrators,thetotal
populationtodayonU.S.collegeanduniversity
campusesisaround20millionindividuals.10
Addthehundredsofthousandsofbusinesssuppliers,
propertyowners,publishingandtravelcompanies
andemployeesofcountlessothercommercialand
nonprofitentities—andtheoveralleconomicclout
ofAmericanhighereducationbothathomeand
abroadissizeable.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION CAMPUS ECOLOGY

8

Whatwillwedecide...

AND WHEN?

… the future, particularly in the longer term, remains largely in our hands—the magnitude of
the expected change depends on what humans choose to do about greenhouse gas emissions.

—William Collins, and others. Scientific American (2007)5

Highereducation

BY THE NUMBERS8

In 2005/06:

I 4,100 colleges and universities

I 17.5 million students

I 2.7 million faculty and staff

I $364 billion in annual expenditures

I $28 billion added to endowments

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