Enrollments at American colleges slid slightly this fall as institutions faced a shrinking pool of high-school graduates at the same time that a slowly expanding economy was luring older students back to work, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported on Thursday.
Over all, enrollment dropped 1.5 percent in the fall of 2013, compared to the previous fall, after slipping 1.8 percent last year.
Four-year, for-profit colleges registered the largest decreases, with enrollments dropping 9.7 percent this fall after declines of 7.2 percent and 3.8 percent the previous two years.
Noah Black, a spokesman for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the for-profit sector’s main trade group, agreed with the center’s lead researcher that heightened scrutiny of the sector had hurt enrollment. But, he added, “for years, we were criticized for growing too fast, and now we’re criticized for reducing enrollment. Somewhere in between is the right point in the right-sizing of our sector.” <Read more.>