Decline in Enrollments at Public Universities

Student enrollments continue to decline at public universities nationwide. For several years, state universities and colleges have been grappling with declining enrollments.


A new report by Reuters indicates that “Tuition will likely decline this fiscal year in a record 15 percent of U.S. public universities, while schools expecting growth anticipate the lowest increases in over a decade, Moody’s Investors Services said on Thursday.”

Moody’s regularly studies higher education finances and issues credit ratings for universities and colleges. The current study concluded: “Moody’s found that a third of universities expect net tuition revenue to either decline or grow at a rate below inflation in fiscal year 2013. In all, 17% of both private and public universities are expecting declines in net tuition revenue, while another 16% are expecting percent increases that are less than the rate of inflation.”

My own university, Northern Illinois University, and other state universities are especially concerned by the projections of declining enrollments. NIU has already experienced several years of declining enrollments, presumably due to the pressures that students and their families are feeling due to the 2008 financial collapse, the foreclosure crisis, and the high unemployment rates.

Over the past generation, state legislatures have reduced their financial support of higher education, leaving many state universities and colleges more dependent on student tuition than before. So, just as American students and their families are being financially squeezed more than at any point in 50 years, educational institutions are being forced to make massive cutbacks or raise tuition rates.

For the Moody’s Investors Service report, see Moody’s website.

The Reuters article was republished in the Chicago Tribune online, along with this photo of the Quad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For readers interested in tuition and university finances, I have written several previous posts in my website’s sections on Education Policy, Humanities Education, and Undergraduate Work in History with links to recent studies on those issues. Prospective undergraduate students, current students, and their families—especially in Illinois—may want to follow up on these links.

This entry was posted in Education Policy, Humanities Education, Northern Illinois University, Undergraduate Work in History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.