Indicator

Postsecondary Course-Taking in Languages Other than English

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A decline in the number of students earning humanities bachelor’s degrees from 2012 to 2014 has prompted interest in related trends in the number of students enrolled in humanities courses. Currently, only course-taking in languages other than English (LOTE) is tracked at the national level, thanks to detailed surveys conducted by the Modern Language Association (MLA). The 2013 data reveal a modest overall decline in enrollment from the prior (2009) survey but show considerable diversity in the trends among the languages.

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Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/flsurvey_search, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

The Modern Language Association started conducting enrollment surveys in 1958 but did not include Latin or ancient Greek until the 1965 survey. The tabulation here only extends back to 1965 to encompass all the languages currently tabulated in the survey.

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* Data not collected prior to 1990.
Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/flsurvey_search, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

II-10c: Postsecondary Enrollments in Spanish Courses Compared to Those in All Other Languages (Excluding English), Selected Years, 1965–2013

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Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/flsurvey_search, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

The Modern Language Association started conducting enrollment surveys in 1958 but did not include Latin or ancient Greek until the 1965 survey. The tabulation here only extends back to 1965 to encompass all the languages currently tabulated in the survey.

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Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/flsurvey_search, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

The Modern Language Association started conducting enrollment surveys in 1958 but did not include Latin or ancient Greek until the 1965 survey. The tabulation here only extends back to 1965 to encompass all the languages currently tabulated in the survey.

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Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/enroll_data_comb, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

This graph charts enrollment trends for the most commonly taken languages identified in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration as “critical need” from a national security standpoint.

II-10f: Postsecondary Enrollments in Less Commonly Taken “Critical Need” Language Courses,* 1965–2013

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* As designated by the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program of the U.S. Department of State. For a description of the program, see http://clscholarship.org/.
** Total of Dari, Farsi, and Tajik, per definition at CLS site: http://www.clscholarship.org/languages/persian.

Source: Modern Language Association (MLA), Language Enrollment Database, https://apps.mla.org/flsurvey_search, accessed 3/28/2016. For a description of the survey by which the MLA data were collected, see David Goldberg, Dennis Looney, and Natalia Lusin, Enrollments in Languages Other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013 (New York: Modern Language Association, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2015).

This table charts enrollment trends for the most commonly taken languages identified in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration as “critical need” from a national security standpoint.

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