- New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows falling enrollment at community colleges and for-profit schools.
- Inside Higher Ed reports that the trend follows the cyclical pattern of enrollment at these institutions, where economic downturns push adult students back to the classroom for retraining or specialization and recoveries take them back to the workplace.
- Enrollment at four-year institutions that enroll a more traditional student population, not including for-profits, has held steady, according to the article.
Declines in enrollment at for-profit schools, as reported by the National Student Clearinghouse, suggest much more than responses to economic cycles. The industry has faced an avalanche of criticism over the past few years and it has affected enrollment negatively. Community colleges are generally set up to expand and contract based on the local need. For-profit enterprises more often must show continuous growth to please investors. With harsher regulation from Washington on its way and greater scrutiny from Congress, troubles for for-profits do not appear to be going away any time soon.