Universities across the US see decline in enrollment, in part due to high tuition costs

New data suggests that smaller colleges around the United States are having issues with declining enrollment.

News 12 Staff

Oct 12, 2022, 10:59 PM

Updated 648 days ago

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New data suggests that smaller colleges around the United States are having issues with declining enrollment.
New Jersey City University has seen its enrollment decline over the last five years, and officials say that it has only gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic. They say fewer students stuck around and opted to go to work instead of class.
University officials say enrollment for undergraduates in the fall of 2017 was 6,508. It dropped to 5,262 in 2021. It has gotten so bad that NJCU declared a financial emergency and started laying off employees.
"The university is facing an unprecedented challenge, which is a direct result of historical underinvestment in the university and in black and brown communities, as well as a dearth in funding in comparison with its peer institutions,” Joseph Scott, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement.
With limited tuition coming in, the university laid off 8%-10% of its managerial employees. More staff are expected to be let go.
The hardship led to a request of as much as $10 million in state aid from the Legislature.
William Paterson University is also struggling. Enrollment has dropped 10%. The university has stated it is taking a toll on the budget. Officials are offering severance packages to staff.
Education experts say that the decline in enrollment may be blamed in part to the high price of college tuition.
"I know I don't want to be in debt. So that was the main reason why I decided to come here,” says NJCU student Sophia Mannino.
Mannino is on a scholarship. She says she has friends who aren’t interested in a four-year degree.
"My friends just have decided all in all it's not worth it because there are other opportunities because they don't want to deal with a four-year program,” she says.
This change in approach has colleges searching not only for money, but also ways to retain current students.
Students like Mannino say they are hoping the school turns it around, because transferring and starting over is not something she's interested in.


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