Nationwide, the number of graduating high-school seniors this year is expected to decline to 3.32 million from a projected all-time high of 3.41 million during the 2010-11 school year, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. And fewer college-bound seniors are choosing private four-year schools: Between 2006 and 2011, the percentage of students at those schools dropped to 20% from 22%, according to the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center.
This is another sign that the higher ed bubble—fueled in part by federal subsidies, university administrative bloat, and an overvaluation of college degrees—may finally be beginning to deflate. There are fewer college-bound students these days, and they and their parents are responding to growing debt burdens and rising tuition by becoming more cost conscious. Universities are feeling the heat on prices, for a change.It’s about time.