PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Colleges In Crisis As Enrollment Dips

University of Washington students walk on the campus between classes in October 2012, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

University of Washington students walk on the campus between classes in October 2012, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Enrollment at more than 40 percent of private colleges and universities declined last year, forcing the institutions to offer steep tuition discounts to fill seats.

Even with that, colleges began the academic year with a record number of spots still available, according to the non-partisan, non-profit education news organization, The Hechinger Report.

Hechinger education reporter Jon Marcus says the decline is partly because of demography – the number of students graduating from high school peaked in 2009 – but the more important factor is parents and potential students balking at high tuition rates and becoming more unwilling to take on debt.

As one admissions official told Marcus, “we’ve reached a tipping point – the cost of college is really beginning to alarm families.”

The crisis is also affecting public institutions.

States have cut the amount they spend on higher education by more than 10 percent in the last two years, bringing spending down to 25 year lows. The cost of attending community college has risen by almost 10 percent in the last year.

The development comes as public officials, including President Barack Obama, are trying to increase the number of Americans with post-secondary education.

Selected articles by Jon Marcus:

Is the college bubble finally bursting? Have tuition costs deterred you or someone you know from going to a private college/university? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Guest:

  • Jon Marcus, reporter with the education news service The Hechinger Report.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 26 4 Comments

Old-Fashioned Bell Helps 12-Year-Old Minnesota Boy Battle Cancer

David Gerfast and his family are fighting cancer with an old-fashioned ship captain's bell and high-tech proton beam radiation.

May 26 2 Comments

Just (Lobster) Roll With It: Variations On A Summer Tradition

In New England, lobster rolls are a summer tradition, but if you ask 100 chefs how to make one, you'll get 100 different answers.

May 25 Comment

Father’s Love For Fallen Son Inspires Memorial Day Tradition

In what has become an annual tradition, volunteers join Paul Monti, whose son died while serving in Afghanistan, to plant flags at each gravestone at the Massachusetts National Cemetery.

May 25 3 Comments

An Ordinary Day At Arlington National Cemetery

Official ceremonies will be held at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day. Here & Now's Lisa Mullins has this report of an ordinary day at the cemetery.