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The department reports that, despite a drop in the number of 18-to-24-year-olds, the number of college students remained stable between the fall of 1986 and the fall of 1987, maintaining higher education's all-time-high enrollment level of roughly 12.5 million.

Women constituted 53 percent of total enrollment last fall, according to a department survey, and part-time students accounted for 42 percent of the total. Although these proportions have remained steady throughout the 1980's, department researchers said, the numbers of women and part-time students have grown steadily during the decade.

The findings, based on a survey of fall enrollments at 635 postsecondary institutions, represent early estimates of enrollment. Actual totals will be released next fall.

Free copies of a report of the findings, "National Estimates of Higher Education Statistics: 1987," are available from the department. The toll-free telephone number is 1-800-424-1616.

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