Indiana sees further drop in college enrollment statewide

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (AP) – Fall enrollment at Indiana public colleges has declined again statewide, with only flagship campuses at Indiana and Purdue universities and some sites in the ‘Ivy Tech Community College reporting earnings.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education said the 2.6% overall drop in graduate-seeking students this fall at public universities brings Indiana’s five-year loss to 10.4 %, from 267,598 students in fall 2016 to 239,799 this year, The Journal Gazette reported.

With a 1.3% drop in enrollment, public four-year schools were less affected than two-year schools, which saw their enrollment drop 7.1%, the commission reported.

The Ivy Tech Community College system saw an overall decline of 6.7%.

Sean Tierney, an associate commissioner, said enrollment is important, given Indiana’s goal of at least 60% of working-age Hoosiers with a high-quality post-secondary degree from by 2025.

Teresa Lubbers, the panel’s commissioner, reported in September that the state’s success rate stood at around 48%.

Tierney said higher education faces two issues that impact enrollment – the student population going to college is not growing as quickly as it has historically been, and the percentage of 18-year-olds who move straight from high school to college is in decline.

The most recent data showed that 59% of high school graduates in 2019 have enrolled in education after high school. This is down from 61% the previous year and 65% in 2015.

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