Pa.'s College Numbers Down; College Enrollment Fell for the Fifth Consecutive Year Nationwide According to Figures Released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a Nonprofit That Works with Colleges and Universities across the Country. [Derived Headline]

By Martines, Jamie | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 26, 2016 | Go to article overview

Pa.'s College Numbers Down; College Enrollment Fell for the Fifth Consecutive Year Nationwide According to Figures Released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a Nonprofit That Works with Colleges and Universities across the Country. [Derived Headline]


Martines, Jamie, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


College enrollment fell for the fifth consecutive year nationwide according to figures released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit that works with colleges and universities across the country.

Pennsylvania is among the five states experiencing the largest decline in enrollment, having lost more than 18,000 students since fall of 2015. New York recorded the biggest change in enrollment during the past year, where colleges and universities collectively lost more than 30,000 students.

All colleges and universities worry about drops in enrollment: Fewer students mean less money in tuition and fees coming through the door. Less money in the budget makes it harder to keep a school running and provide academic programs and services students expect.

And students aren't the only ones who suffer when a school is forced to cut back. Smaller operating budgets make it harder for schools to keep staff and faculty employed.

"Sometimes, it translates to staff reductions or program cancellations," said Paul-James Cukanna, vice president for enrollment management at Duquesne University, a private Catholic school in Pittsburgh. "That's the reality of the market."

Undergraduate enrollment at Duquesne -- 9,403 -- actually increased 1 percent this fall as the school welcomed the largest freshman class in the history of the university. But Cukanna said enrollment is still a concern. It takes work to keep those numbers up, and, like most colleges and universities in the area, Duquesne is working to find ways to stay competitive.

California University of Pennsylvania, one of 14 state-owned schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, had a total enrollment this fall of 7,553, down from 7,854 the previous year and from 9,483 in fall of 2011. The Washington County university has reduced staff in the past year as administrators pointed to a declining pool of Pennsylvania high school graduates.

The state is home to 257 institutions of higher education, including public, nonprofit private and for-profit colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

High school enrollment in Western Pennsylvania continues to decrease -- these days there are simply fewer high school-aged children compared to when the millennial generation was in high school -- so the competition to attract students to schools in the region is fierce.

As a result, schools such as Westmoreland County's Seton Hill University and St. …

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Pa.'s College Numbers Down; College Enrollment Fell for the Fifth Consecutive Year Nationwide According to Figures Released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a Nonprofit That Works with Colleges and Universities across the Country. [Derived Headline]
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