Your submission is now in Draft mode.

Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

Your essay is now in Draft mode

Once you submit your essay, it will be available to judges for review and you can no longer edit it. Please make sure to review eligibility criteria before submitting. Thank you!

Submit Essay

Once you submit your essay, you can no longer edit it.


This content now needs to be approved by community moderators.


This essay was submitted and is waiting for review by judges.

Will the fraction of American 18-24 year-olds enrolled in colleges in 2025 be ≥10% less than were enrolled in 2015?


In the US, enrollment in 4-year colleges has been steadily increasing since the 1970s, from around 17.1% to 29.9% in 2015.

Despite this, the economist Bryan Caplan has recently argued that this time spent in college by an increasing proportion of youth is wasteful, as the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity — in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.

As increasing numbers of students get more degrees, the harder it becomes to remain competitive in the job market without spending lots of time in education — essentially creating a prisoner's dilemma in which it is individually rational, but socially harmful to waste evermore time getting degrees. This has made some confident that educational enrolment will only increase over time, including the aforementioned economist who has been placing bets on this.

Will the fraction of American 18-24 year-olds enrolled in traditional four-year colleges in 2025 be more than 10% lower than in 2015?

Since the 2015 rate is 29.9%, positive resolution is conditional on a rate 26.91% or less in 2025 as reported by data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Social issues

Make a Prediction


Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Current points depend on your prediction, the community's prediction, and the result. Your total earned points are averaged over the lifetime of the question, so predict early to get as many points as possible! See the FAQ.

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site