Some Colleges Hit Particularly Hard As Enrollment Falls

Career College Central summary:

  • Nationwide, higher education is in upheaval as the pool of prospective students and tuition dollars shrinks for many schools. An analysis of fall enrollment at about 80 colleges and universities in Maryland, Virginia and the District found 20 with declines of more than 5 percent since 2010. Some were down more than 10 percent.
  • The contraction has hit historically black universities, liberal arts schools, women’s colleges and others with distinctive niches. It is forcing colleges to intensify their marketing and in some cases rethink tuition and financial aid policies in a quest to survive an increasingly tough market. Every prospective student, especially ­every one able to pay college bills, is being wooed intensively.
  • Colleges could see the enrollment strain coming in demographic trends that predicted a national dip in students graduating from high school and in ­precedents suggesting that fewer people seek higher education when the economy is recovering from recession. But other factors, including unusual consumer sensitivity to rising tuition, have quickly amplified the challenge.
  • For institutions rooted in decades — or centuries — of tradition, making nimble pivots is not easy. The enrollment strain puts that on public display. The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and ­Colleges reports that nearly half of schools it surveyed recently fell short of enrollment and tuition revenue goals. Some fell far short.

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