College Recruiting

September 6, 1974

Report Outline
Current College Enrollment Crisis
Cycles of Attendance at U.S. Colleges
Future Demand for Higher Education
Special Focus

Current College Enrollment Crisis

Cost-Squeeze Consequence of Enrollment Slump

The great rush to get into college appears to be over. Enrollment, which quadrupled during the past 20 years, is leveling off and could decline by the 1980s. With the fall term now beginning, there still are about a half-million vacancies in the nation's 2,686 colleges and universities, according to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC). This was unheard of in the halcyon days of the 1960s when schools were flooded with more applicants than they could admit.

To fill these empty seats, many colleges are resorting to promotional and recruiting techniques they once would have dismissed as demeaning. In some cases, enrolled students are being given tuition rebates for recruiting others. Some colleges are paying free-lance recruiters according to the number of students they produce. Several private universities are enticing students with “no-need” academic scholarships to keep them from attending less-expensive public institutions.

Some college admissions officers denounce such tactics as crass attempts to buy students, but others insist that they are necessary if the colleges are going to survive. “It's hard to kill a college,” Earl Cheit, associate director of the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education, said recently. “They're pretty resilient. But there's more worry now than last summer. There has been a tremendous surge of inflation, and there has been a continuing slowdown in the rate of growth of enrollment. This autumn it seems inevitable that the cost squeeze will be greater.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Colleges and Universities
May 20, 2022  Free Speech on Campus
Dec. 04, 2020  Graduates' Prospects
Sep. 11, 2020  Higher Education in the COVID Era
Oct. 26, 2018  Issues in Higher Education
Nov. 20, 2015  Greek Life on Campus
May 08, 2015  Free Speech on Campus
Jan. 02, 2015  College Rankings
Jan. 18, 2013  Future of Public Universities
Feb. 04, 2011  Crime on Campus
Jan. 07, 2011  Career Colleges
Apr. 21, 2000  Community Colleges
Feb. 16, 1996  Academic Politics
Jan. 05, 1990  What Should College Students Be Taught?
Jul. 27, 1984  Colleges in the 1980s
Jan. 23, 1981  Plight of America's Black Colleges
Apr. 11, 1980  College Admissions
Sep. 06, 1974  College Recruiting
Mar. 01, 1974  Academic Tenure
Sep. 14, 1966  Graduate School Crush
College Financing and Funding
Undergraduate and Graduate Education