National college enrollment numbers decrease

As Idaho continues to emphasize college attendance, here’s an interesting set of numbers.

College attendance declined this fall in 37 states, including Idaho.

Nationwide, college attendance dropped by 1.7 percent this year, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center statistics released Wednesday. All told, 19.2 million students were enrolled in college this fall.

Idaho enrollment decreased slightly. In all, 96,886 students are enrolled in Idaho colleges and universities, down 0.5 percent from 2014-15.

Enrollment decreases were steepest at two-year colleges and for-profit universities, according to the report. Older students, over age 24, accounted for much of the enrollment decrease.

Idaho education leaders and elected officials have made college attendance and college completion their overarching education goal. The State Board of Education wants 60 percent of the state’s 25- to 34-year-olds to complete some form of postsecondary school by 2020.

College attendance numbers remain well below this ambitious 60 percent threshold. Only 50 percent of Idaho’s high school class of 2014 had enrolled in college within 12 months of graduation, according to the State Board of Education.