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Economists Predict 15 Percent Drop in College Enrollment Starting in 2025

Economists Predict 15 Percent Drop in College Enrollment Starting in 2025

“effects will not be felt equally across different regions of the country”

Small liberal arts colleges will likely feel the brunt of this. We will see more school closings.

The Washington Examiner reports:

College enrollment predicted to fall by 15 percent starting in 2025

A new report by economists at Carleton College predicts that universities nationwide will see a significant enrollment decrease starting in 2025.

According to Nathan Grawe, a professor of economics at the college in Northfield, Minn., most colleges and universities will start seeing a significant reduction in enrollment beginning in 2025 due to the marked decline in the birth rate that occurred between 2008 and 2011. According to Grawe, the major reason behind the decline in birthrate was the uncertainty created by the financial crisis in 2008.

“When the financial crisis hit in 2008, young people viewed that economic uncertainty as a cause for reducing fertility,” explained Grawe. “The number of kids born from 2008 to 2011 fell precipitously. Fast forward 18 years to 2026 and we see that there are fewer kids reaching college-going age.”

While many universities will undoubtedly experience enrollment decreases during this time period, the effects will not be felt equally across different regions of the country, according to the report. States with fewer colleges and universities, such as those concentrated in the Midwest, may actually observe increases in overall student enrollment during this period, the economists predict. But states that share a large percentage of the total colleges and universities, particularly those located in the Northeast, could see a massive decline in overall enrollment.


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Morning Sunshine | September 12, 2018 at 3:14 pm

My son will be graduating next year. He will NOT be going to college. Instead, by the time he gets his high school diploma, he will also have a welding certificate, and can pretty much walk into any welding job he wants. Starts at about $18/hour.

Not to mention that with college costs increasing ~8% a year, college will be getting so expensive that fewer and fewer people will be able to afford it any longer. The solution isn’t bigger and bigger loans; it will eventually reach the point where most students won’t ever be able to pay off their loans.

    healthguyfsu in reply to HImmanuelson. | September 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    It depends.

    If less people go, the value of a degree may actually rise, as is normal with market equilibria.

    However, if a degree becomes less and less necessary for gainful employment then demand will fall further than supply.

    Time will tell.

I would HOPE that the drop should be even GREATER than 15%. For too many people, college is a waste of money NOW.

    mochajava76 in reply to Alan McIntire. | September 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Disclosure: I work in IT at a University.

    I agree that the price and the benefits of a college degree are something one should question. But it CAN be a major point in one’s life where they think about what they believe in and WHY.

    the author of the Atlantic article stated “When will the typical student use history? Trigonometry? Art? Music? Physics? Latin? The class clown who snarks “What does this have to do with real life?” is onto something.”

    I agree in part. But i also think that there is a benefit of taking a Classic literature class. Not to deconstruct it to make it say something about gay rights or immigration. (I believe in Authorial intent). But for the poetry and questions it can ask.

    To quote Robin William’s character in Dead Poets Society: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for”.

    Can Morning Sunshine’s son pursue this while studying welding? Absolutely. Is $50K a year worth it? I don’t know. Should all high schoolers go to college? probably not.

    I think college can be wasteful. but i don’t think it has to be wasteful

      Alan McIntire in reply to mochajava76. | September 13, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      One need not go to college to read great literature, listen to music, or learn to play an instrument. I’ve learned a great deal about my favorite subject, history, long after college by reading on my own. Quite a BIT , especially classic literature, is now in the public domain and can be read free at sites like “Project Gutenberg”.