At a time when we are focused on the need for higher education to compete in a global economy the US experienced a 1.8% drop in college enrollment in Fall 2012 according the the National Student Clearinghouse report on Estimated National Enrollment by Sector.
Since for-profits have had to stop being significantly less evil, they took the biggest hit - down 7.2% - but all sectors were down except for 4 year private.
Four year public -0.6%
Four year Private Non-profit +0.5%
Four year For Profit -7.2%
Two year public -3.1%
So 360,000 less students went to college this year. The trend says that this is bound to happen as the economy improves so it is a short term good sign. It is also a good sign that students aren't being sucked into non-profits where they stand little chance of completing.
But we still lost 32,454 new students in college at a time when STEM graduates are desperately needed. This is not a good sign at all and something that the National Math and Science Initiative will continue to fix in 2013