- A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education shows costs for first-time freshmen increased 4% for public and private non-profit institutions, while for-profit costs decreased by less than 1% between 2013 and 2015.
- Colleges and universities enrolled more than 27 million students, including 3.8 million graduate students, according to a 12-month headcount.
- There are more than 5,000 four-year and two-year institutions across the United States.
Of particular interest in the report is the rise of costs at public and non-profit schools and the simultaneous decrease in cost at for-profits. Also noteworthy is the sheer number of institutions throughout the country.
The data depict why lawmakers in various states and the nation’s capital are seeking to reduce the number of institutions through merger or closure — for some, maintaining more than 5,000 schools for 27 million students would appear an unnecessary expense when a smaller number of schools could receive the investment to serve larger student bodies. College leaders with campuses not among the largest or most metropolitan would be well served in demonstrating economic impact, social outreach and cultural value to justify keeping the doors open with smaller enrollments.