In 2012 college enrollment fell by 2%, the most significant decline since the ‘90s. A similar enrollment decline is predicted for both 2013 and 2014.
There are reasons for the decline. First, the college age population is falling after decades of growth. Also, the improvement in the economy is seeing adults getting jobs instead of returning to school. Finally, higher tuition prices and huge student debt have both deterred college applicants.
The wealthiest colleges and college that are prestigious and competitive will be affected the least by this drop in enrollments. However, there are many colleges that are on the edge and may have to close or suffer large budget cutbacks if their enrollments decrease.
But, for college applicants there is good news. A drop in enrollments means
• College tuition costs will decline,
• Middle tier colleges will be easier to get into,
• More discounts will be offered by schools trying to attract students,
• Degree programs will be accelerated, and
• Colleges will begin to recruit students to fill their seats after May 1, and they will be knocking and calling with financial aid offers.
Students should feel less pressure as they seek admission to colleges in the next few years, and opportunities for a college education will both increase and be more available to students who make up their minds later in the college admission game.