- Preliminary data released Tuesday by the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics shows that total enrollment at American colleges and universities eligible for federal financial aid fell from 21,588,124 in fall 2010 to 21,554,004 in fall 2011--the first drop in at least 15 years.
- A handful of reasons have been offered to explain the small drop, including the possibility that enrollments are leveling off from the recession boom of the late 2000s or that rising tuition levels are pricing some students out.
- These numbers, if part of a continuing trend, could prove tricky for policy makers and advocates pushing the "completion agenda" and seeking to increase college graduation rates.
From the article:
It's official: Higher education is shrinking, for the first time in at least 15 years. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities eligible for federal financial aid fell slightly in the fall of 2011 from the year before, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics. The data from the department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System show that 21,554,004 students were enrolled in fall 2011, down from 21,588,124 in fall 2010. ...