If there is a statistic that all college administrators look at every year it is enrollments, the bread and butter of higher education for multiple reasons. First, all private colleges – and increasingly public ones – depend upon students enrolling in order to main- tain the financial flow to their institutions. Second, many public institutions have their state budget tied to the number of students they enroll. Third, the attractiveness of an institution of higher education is partly based on its enrollment success. No wonder everybody looks at those numbers every year with apprehension.
Enrollment numbers for the spring semester of 2017 have just been released, and they are not good news in most cases. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks 97 percent of students at federal aid-eligible institutions, found an overall national decline of 1.5 percent for this spring semester compared to a year ago. That means 272,000 fewer students were enrolled nationwide.