Main Factors Contributing to The Current College Enrollment Decline

Main Factors Contributing to The Current College Enrollment Decline


Earning a college degree is an integral part of the great American Dream. A college education not only opens more career opportunities for individuals but also enhances their social skills. Despite these benefits, enrollments in higher education institutions have been declining for the past few years.

In the spring of 2018, enrollments in four-year for-profit academic institutions decreased by 6.8%, while the rate of enrollments in four-year non-profit higher education programs dropped by 0.4%. While the rate of decline may seem minor, it represents an alarming trend in higher education.
Here are the reasons that could be contributing to the declining college enrollment rates in this country.

1.   Lack of Financial Resources

College tuition and student-loan debt today are higher than it has ever been before. According to studies, more than 44 million U.S. citizens currently hold an estimated $1.5 trillion in student-loan debt. (, June 13, 2018) High-school graduates with a lack of financial education and resources face unusual challenges during the college application and admission process. Consequently, they refrain from applying altogether, which leads to a decline in their rate of enrollment.

2.   Poor Career Counseling

During school years, students with inconsistent attendance or academic records often assume they will be unable to get through college in the future. Lack of proper career counseling at this stage can reinforce this belief. As a result, students often fail to pursue higher education.

3.   Mismanaged Enrollment Systems

Mismanaged college recruitments could also be one of the contributing factors of the current enrollment decline. College systems aren’t always completely transparent and free from bias. These systems fail to forecast the magnitude of applicants and properly assess each candidate according to their abilities. Poor enrollment systems are unable to anticipate the financial needs of incoming students, which ultimately leads to a decline in college enrollments. Higher education institutions are primarily responsible for making efforts to counter the decline in college enrollment rates. One way to tackle this issue is to integrate modern technology, such as predictive analytics into the current college enrollment management system.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of data science and analytics in college enrollments? Get in touch with us!

Virtue Analytics offers extensive college enrollment management solutions that systematically analyzes enrollment markers to optimize recruitments. Our team of highly qualified data scientists, engineers, academicians, and management consultants work together to deliver solutions tailored to the needs of each institution.

To request a demo of the system, contact us at 1 (612) 401-5431. For further information or inquiries, you can also send an email to