Special Reports

Overall College Student Enrollment Declines, Report Says


Overall post-secondary enrollments declined by more than 270,000 students this year, a 1.4 percent decrease from last year's national college enrollments, a new report says.

Of this number, more than 256,000 students are over the age of 24, according to the Fall 2016 Current Term Estimates report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. National enrollments have been steadily declining for 10 consecutive college terms now, beginning in 2012, noted Inside Higher Ed.

"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 according to a press release. "The greatest decreases in enrollment are happening in the Northeast and Midwest, while the West and South are seeing increases."

Compared to last year's enrollment data, there are 165,000 less students enrolled in four-year, for-profit institutions. Four-year private non-profit institutions, on the other hand, saw 22,000 less students enrolling. For the latter, smaller institutions accounted for more than half of the recorded decrease.

Most of the students that did not enroll in the for-profit sector are men. Women now account for 66 percent of enrollments in this sector, compared to 64 percent in fall 2014

Two-year public colleges had more than 153,000 fewer students enrolled this year.

On the other hand, overall graduate students' enrollment increased by 40,000 (1.5 percent). Among four-year public institutions, graduate student enrollment increased by 2.7 percent.

Here's a list of the top ten states that saw lesser enrollments this year:

  • New York - 30,695
  • Illinois - 26,089
  • Michigan - 25,841
  • Pennsylvania - 18,390
  • Virginia - 15,613
  • Massachusetts - 13,444
  • Wisconsin - 13,122
  • Texas - 11,376
  • Colorado - 11,039
  • Maryland - 10,444

Here's a list of colleges where early applicants have better chances of getting accepted.

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