Nearing The Bottom

Career College Central summary:

  • The decline in overall college enrollment has slowed this spring, according to new data the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today. And some details are emerging about the groups of students who are less likely to attend college in declining sectors.
  • Overall enrollment this spring is down 0.8 percent compared to a year ago. That slide follows two years of previous declines the clearinghouse identified. The loss of students peaked last spring with a 2.3 percent decrease.
  • The clearinghouse data cover 96 percent of all enrollments in the United States. The nonprofit group conducts student verification and research services for colleges, which turn over their data voluntarily. The clearinghouse publishes national enrollment estimates every six months, breaking out numbers by sectors and states, as well as on students’ age groups, gender and part- or full-time status.
  • With estimates from the current term, the clearinghouse gives a more timely view of enrollments than the U.S. Department of Education can with its data. However, the clearinghouse does not publicly release figures about individual institutions.
  • The overall trends in the latest report aren’t surprising. More students attend college during a recession, and an enrollment boom typically tapers off as the economy begins to rebound. Eventually enrollments stabilize and begin to climb again at a steadier rate.

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