Campus Free Speech

College Enrollment Slides

Mounting debt and limited prospects seen as the cause

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For the first time since the recession started, the college enrollment rate among young people has slipped, possibly signaling slower growth in student debt amid soaring delinquency rates and poor employment prospects.

In October 2012, 32.7% of people 16 to 24 years old were enrolled in college, the Labor Department said Wednesday in its annual reading. That's down from 33.4% a year earlier. The last time there was a decline was in 2006.

The total number enrolled also dropped to 12.7 million from 12.8 million, despite a slight uptick in the number of fresh high school graduates entering college.