The number of college students aged 25 and older dropped drastically between 2011 and 2012, while the number of Hispanic college students increased by almost the same amount, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

Total college enrollment for the fall of 2012 was down by 467,000 from one year earlier, out of a total enrollment of 19.9 million. “The decline, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment, follows a period of substantial growth ─ 3.2 million ─ between 2006 and 2011,” the Census Bureau reports in “School Enrollment: 2012.”

The decline was driven by a 419,000 decrease in enrollment of students 25 and older. Enrollment for younger students fell by 48,000.

However, enrollment for Hispanics increased by 447,000 between 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, non-Hispanic white enrollment declined by 1.1 million and black enrollment by 108,000.  The increase for Hispanic students is attributed to the growing Hispanic population and an increasing likelihood of them going to college, says Julie Siebens, a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch.
The Census Bureau also reports that in 2012, 78 million people, or 26.4 percent of the population 3 or older, were enrolled in school.

Of the total college population, 5.8 million were enrolled in two-year colleges, 10.3 million in four-year colleges and 3.8 million in graduate school. Of the total school population, 804,000 were 50 years of age or older.

In 2012, there were 4.2 million students enrolled in private elementary and high schools, down from 4.8 million in 2005.

Students who were born in another country or whose parents were foreign-born made up 32 percent of all those enrolled in school at all levels in 2012.