The number of college students fell for the first time in six years, according to new Census figures. The half-a-million-student drop is “a huge decline,” Census Bureau statistician Julie Siebens said. This sounds like bad news, but it’s actually a sign of good news.
It means the labor market is getting better.
College is cheaper, in a way, during recessions, because the opportunity cost of leaving the work force to go to school is lower when there aren’t any jobs out there. As a result, college enrollment accelerates during bad economic times. Since the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, college attendance has grown by 3.2 million students — or 18%.
Now we’re seeing the reverse. The economy has improved. Youth unemployment has fallen. Twenty-somethings are going back to work. Ninety percent of the overall decline in enrollment was from students over 25. Steadily falling college enrollment would be bad news, but a one-year correction suggests that students on the job-or-school bubble could be plowing their productivity into salaried jobs, Siebens said.
Via The Atlantic.
- Number of Students Enrolled in College Drops
- New Census Bureau report finds college enrollment down in 2012
- College enrollment down by a half million students in 2012: Census Bureau report
- College enrollment declines in 2012: Census Bureau report
- Report: College Enrollment Plunges By Half Million Students
- Reference: Statistics: New Report From U.S. Census Shows College Enrollment Declines