THE influence of depression and recovery upon enrolments and degrees in higher education cannot be discussed without a general background that involves the larger question of why these huge enrolments exist. The attitudes held by people with reference to higher education are important in determining what they will do in respect to it when times are good, and especially when times become bad. This observation would be applicable to those who support higher education, whether by gift or through taxes and the appropriation of public funds, to those who teach at the institutions of higher education, and to those who attend them as students. This section focuses attention chiefly upon the last-mentioned group--the students--although the implications that are drawn from the data will be of especial interest to the others.
The Expansion of Enrolments . The number of students in the colleges, universities, junior colleges, teachers colleges, and normal schools of the United States more than doubled between 1890 and 1910, and more than tripled between 1910 and 1930, as the following tabulation shows:1
These figures may not be entirely accurate because of the methods employed in their compilation, but as an indication of the rate at which higher education has developed they present an essentially true picture.____________________