Overall college enrollments declined 1.4 percent this fall compared to one year ago, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a dip of more than 270,000 students. Nationwide enrollments began their slide in 2012 and have now continued for the last 10 consecutive college terms.
The biggest drop this fall was in the for-profit sector, which saw a 14.5 percent decline. Community colleges experienced a 2.6 percent decline. Enrollments were down slightly (0.6 percent) at four-year private institutions and up a small amount (0.2 percent) at four-year public institutions.
“The trends of a declining adult student enrollment and the shrinking for-profit sector are now joined by stagnating numbers of new high school graduates. These forces show no sign of slowing and will continue to challenge institutions in their planning,” Doug Shapiro, executive research director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said in a written statement. “The greatest decreases in enrollment are happening in the Northeast and Midwest, while the West and South are seeing increases.”