For the first time sine 2006, college enrollment dropped last year. Statistics from the Census Bureau show that undergraduate and graduate enrollment fell by a half-million students to 19.9 million in 2012.
Of note is that most of the decline was in students age 25 and older. That decrease was 419,000 students from the 2011 total. Enrollment of younger students dropped by 48,000 from 2011 to 2012.
Not surprising is that the number of Hispanic college students rose to 3.4 million, up 447,000 from 2011 to 2012. Hispanics now number 22 percent of students from preschool to adult education. A decade earlier, it was only 15.6 percent.
There undoubtedly are a number of reasons why there are slightly fewer college sudents. The fact that most of the decline is in students over age 25 tells us that much of the decline is in graduate students. Is it that graduate degrees aren’t that important in the workplace compared to what it used to be? Is college education overall too expensive? Also, it’s a fact that the number of students who graduate from high school has declined. Fewer children are being born. Too many couples have only one or two children, and some do not have any.
It may be that the decline in college enrollments is a result of the American culture today — fewer births. We are becoming much like other Western countries — fewer births and growing populations from immigrants.
Private schools are suffering in enrollments because of the cost of tuition. In 2012, there were 4.2 million students enrolled in private elementary, middle and high schools. That’s a drop from 4.8 million in 2005.
For private schools, more revenue is needed. More money must be raised for scholarships to help pay the tuition costs.
The American culture has changed and it’s showing up in the student population.