Why college enrollment is dropping

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 23, 2016

College enrollment is dropping across the country with 800,000 fewer students on the nation's campuses since 2010.

Debt is one of the main reasons college-age students are choosing to skip school altogether.

"I'll be looking at around $10,000," said Jorge Torres, an accounting major at Metropolitan State University Denver.

At its peak in 2010, 21 million students pursued a higher education. The most recent data from 2014 shows enrollment is down by more than 800,000 students.

"It doesn't really surprise me, especially with the economy being so strong and the job market being really strong, as well," said Vaughn Toland, Director of Admissions at MSU Denver.

The biggest declines were at community colleges and for-profit universities, which typically enroll students from low-income and minority households.

"Because all of the community colleges have been down in enrollment ... that affects the amount of students that are going to transfer here, so that's hit us pretty hard," said Toland.

Statistics show college graduates make almost twice as much as employees who only have a high school diploma.

"It is worth it, I think," said Torres.

This year's average tuition was $32,405 for private colleges. At public schools, in-state students paid an average of $9,410, while out-of-state students paid $23,893.