Strange Drop in College Enrollment

We hear a lot about the rising cost of a college education, and part of that has been driven by unprecedented demand for a college degree. But you probably haven’t heard that the number of students enrolled in college in 2019 dropped by almost 250,000 over 2018 figures.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks these statistics, speculates that a strong job market and historically low unemployment may be the primary cause. People are leaving high school and finding jobs—albeit with limited long-term growth potential. Over their careers, college graduates earn 56% more than those with just a high school education.

Another contributor is the slowing birth rate and rising tuition costs, which are persistent trends likely to continue into the future.

Does this mean getting into college will become less competitive? There will still be intense competition for applicants to the “top” or “name brand” schools. But the less-well-known colleges may find themselves bidding more competitively, with aid packages, for the smaller pool of potential customers.