College Enrollments Drop for 3rd Straight Year

The Chronicle:

Summary: College enrollments dropped by 1.3 percent this fall after slipping 1.5 percent last fall and 1.8 percent in the fall of 2012.

For the public sector over all, the decline was 1.5 percent, with two-year colleges down 3.4 percent and four-year colleges up 0.4 percent. (Those categories have been shifting as more community colleges offer four-year degrees.)

The for-profit sector fared much better than in previous years, with enrollments down by just 0.4 percent in the fall of 2014. That compares with the previous year’s decline of 9.7 percent. Growth in the number of younger students accounted for much of the turnaround.

Also in the good-news column, enrollment inched up by 1.6 percent at four-year private nonprofit colleges.

Looking at the national picture, enrollments declined in 39 states and the District of Columbia. They were up in 11 states, with the largest jumps in New Hampshire (home of Southern New Hampshire University’s booming online program), at 19.9 percent, and Arizona, at 5.2 percent.

The biggest drops were among students older than 24. Their numbers were down by 2.8 percent this fall.