College enrollment shows signs of slowing, according to the Hechinger Report. Students and parents say they’re worried about taking on debt for a degree — or a few years of partying — that may not lead to a job.
Despite discounting tuition more heavily, more than 40 percent of private colleges reported enrollment declines. “We are seeing the beginnings of a cool-down,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
While the number of students graduating from high schools has declined slightly since building to a peak of more than 3.3 million in 2009, the cause of the college enrollment drop-off is largely skyrocketing tuition and concern about debt, Nassirian and other higher-education officials said.
“I do think we’ve reached a tipping point in terms of what cost might do,” said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC. “The cost of college is really beginning to alarm families. And that creates a real threat to enrollment.”
Second- and third-tier private colleges with small endowments could fold as students become more cost conscious.