Approximately 20.5 million students were enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States in the fall of 2016. 12 million students are under the age of 25, which is 40% of the 18 to 24 year old age group, but also includes about 8.2 million students over 25 (2014 figures). More than one million international students attend public and private institutions. Most are from China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Canada.
A large network of people, and a vast assortment of properties and settings support students; trying to keep everyone safe poses significant and unique challenges, but also many opportunities.
College graduates have better job opportunities and higher incomes than people with high school degrees. Graduate and professional degrees lead to higher incomes. It is estimated that, on average, someone with a Bachelor's Degree will earn about 66% more during a 40 year working life than someone with a high school degree. Having a professional degree will more than double that.
Large universities like my employer, the University at Buffalo (UB), are similar to cities. The University is the largest in the system of public colleges and universities in New York State. Approximately 14,000 full and part-time faculty and staff are employed for our population of more than 29,000 students. There are over 1300 acres on three campuses, in downtown Buffalo, north Buffalo and suburban Amherst. There are more than 110 buildings, 38 miles of roads, even more miles of sidewalks and walkways, and 98 parking lots to maintain.
In the Fall of 2014, 17.4% of students at UB were international, from 106 countries.
Students live in dormitories and apartments on campus, and off-campus student housing can be found throughout the city and suburbs. Members of the public are on campus day and night, every day, in addition to faculty, staff and students. Contractors from numerous companies also work throughout the campuses daily. There is a police force. There are athletic facilities including a stadium and Olympic-sized pool, used by students and the public. National and local sporting events take place on campus, in addition to events for university teams. There are theaters and recital halls, and events occur in those all week and all year. National, state and local politicians stage events on campus; even the Dalai Lama appeared at UB. Food is served all day, every day, to students and the public. Libraries throughout the campuses are open from early morning until late at night, and many are open 24/7 for exams.