College enrollments declined 2.3% this spring compared with a year earlier, a sign that more students are returning to the workforce as the economy recovers, a report out Thursday says.
The biggest drops occurred among adult learners attending for-profit colleges and public community colleges, which are most likely to enroll students in vocation-oriented classes tied to the local job market. Enrollments at those institutions fell 8.7% and 3.6% respectively.
For colleges, which saw enrollments peak in 2011 during the recession, the declining numbers represent "a bit of a return to normal,"says Doug Shapiro, executive director of the non-profit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which released the report. "It's reflective of good news for the economy and labor market."