Colleges’ crisis today

What is the problem with colleges today? While the United States is chock full of plenty of excellent colleges and prestigious universities, many of these are highly selective, making them more and more difficult to get into. Then, there are those colleges that are struggling to be filled with students. Exploring this crisis in better detail can help gain more understanding of it.

In the spring of 2013, 2.3 percent of college student enrollments dropped versus the number one year earlier in the spring of 2012. In the 2010 to 2011 time period, there were 3.4 million high school graduates in the United States. The estimated number of graduates for 2013 to 2014 is 3.2 million. Across the nation, there are 446 colleges that still have space available for students in the 2012 to 2013 freshman class or for those who could transfer. Statistics are taken from the National Association for College Admission Counseling. There are also only 20 percent of students who get accepted to private colleges and universities at this point in time in comparison to the one third who were accepted five years ago.

One third of all schools expect to see a hike in tuition or a drop in revenue from it as a result of the declining number of students who are enrolling in them. Four year public colleges saw a decline in enrollment of four percent from the fall of 2010 to spring 2011, of 5.7 percent from fall 2011 to the spring of 2012 and of six percent from the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2013. Additionally, at least half of all colleges expect to see a decline in the enrollment of students who will attend on a full time basis.

The age of college students is also dropping in spite of over a decade of a sharp growth. This is largely due to the number of Americans turning 18 reaching its peak in 2009. The decline is projected to continue on through 2016. However, many adults who chose to go back to school during the recent recession have since returned to work as the economic recovery occurred.

There has been a shocking 1,120 percent increase in college tuition and fees since 1978. Schools that have been hit hard in particular include the University of Arizona with a 110 percent increase, the University of Hawaii, which saw a 108 percent increase, Arizona State University and the University of Washington – Seattle with 107 percent increases and Georgia Tech with a 105 percent tuition increase. These and other schools have seen such great increases in tuition and fees due to the sizes of the college administrations and costs thereof rising.



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