The bigger issue for Pennsylvania higher education is its ability to attract students while the college-aged population in the commonwealth shrinks.
Student loan forgiveness arrives, but shrinking student numbers in PA remains a major problem | State | wfmz.com
Colleges think they will simply attract more students from a smaller pool…. hmmmm.
There’s More – from Two experts discuss enrollment declines (insidehighered.com)
Then as the pandemic began to emerge, again we thought we would see enrollments start to climb. But there was such an increase in prevailing wages and demand for jobs, even for workers who didn’t have a lot of skills. So many of our students and potential students saw the opportunity to suddenly make $16 or $18 now or get a $500 bonus for coming back. And so they said, “Why would I go to college now—now’s the opportunity to make up for some of the lost wages over the last year and a half?” And then let’s not lose sight of the fact that for years prior to the pandemic we’d been losing enrollment. Not at the same rate, but we had a robust economy, we had already begun to see a decline in the number of white high school graduates nationally since 2012. We’re seeing increasing competition for those students, for students who we formally assumed were ours. But now the four years, the regional comprehensive [public universities], everybody was going after the students who used to be assumed to be community college material
They’ve got the wage competition issue correct. But they are not aware of the shrinking population issue and how that pushes wages up, while simultaneously decreasing the number of potential students.
Reading the entire interview, it is clear that colleges are stuck in the past and do not understand the challenges they are about to face. Simply doing what used to work – everyone should go to college! – is not going to work.