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May 20, 2013 1:59 PM College Enrollment Declines, and That’s a Good Thing

By Daniel Luzer

Fewer people are attending college. From the Huffington Post comes news that college enrollment has declined, dramatically, from last year. According to the article:

A report released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Thursday revealed a 2.3 percent dip in students choosing to attend college during the spring of 2013. This year’s numbers represent a big leap from last spring, when enrollment only declined 0.3 percent from the previous year.

But this does not mean that high school students are deciding to skip college. In fact, this enrollment decline is probably a sign that things are improving.

The decline in college enrollment can be attributed to the improving economy, which has allowed more students to return to the workforce, according to a press release from the organization.

That’s because it appears to be a drop in attendance of nontraditional students, who are actually the majority of those enrolled in college. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center explains that

Enrollment declined for every type of university besides four-year nonprofit universities, which had an enrollment increase of 0.5 percent since spring of last year. Four-year for-profit colleges experienced the biggest decline in enrollment, with 8.7 percent fewer students matriculating.

Community colleges reported an enrollment decline of 3.6 percent. Community colleges and for-profit schools are the institutions sought out by older students looking to improve their skills to get better jobs. But traditional students just out of high school still seem to be flocking to attend college.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer