Enrollment Drops 0.8% Over All, But Edges Up At Private 4-Year Colleges

"Enrollment at American colleges dipped this spring for the third year in a row as older students returned to an improving job market, but private four-year colleges bucked the trend with a slight uptick in their numbers, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center," Inside Higher Ed reports

"Over all, enrollment was down 0.8 percent this spring, compared with last spring, far less than the 2.3-percent decline over the previous one-year period.

The steepest drop, at 4.9 percent, occurred at four-year for-profit colleges, while enrollment at two-year public colleges fell by 2.7 percent. Enrollment inched up by 0.7 percent at four-year public institutions and by 2 percent at four-year private nonprofit colleges.

The report breaks down enrollment trends by sector, gender, age, and part-time versus full-time status. It covers 96 percent of enrollment at degree-granting colleges that receive federal student aid. …

Enrollment declined in 37 states and increased in 13, with the biggest jumps in Oregon, at 5.2 percent, and New Hampshire, at 15.5 percent. Most of New Hampshire’s surge stemmed from rising online enrollment, most notably at Southern New Hampshire University’s rapidly growing online college, according to Edward R. MacKay, director of the Division of Higher Education in the state’s Department of Education. He was one of several experts who viewed an advance copy of the report.

The 4.9-percent drop at for-profit colleges was an improvement over last fall’s 9.7-percent decline, which was largely due to intense scrutiny of the sector."

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