AUGUSTa, 2016—As students prepare for the new academic year and prepare for their futures, the best colleges in the country are struggling to fill their classes.
The U.S. Department of Education reported this week that nearly 7,000 college campuses have closed, according to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars of Electives, an organization that administers the accreditation system for higher education.
“We are seeing colleges struggling to meet their obligation to educate the nation’s students,” said Robert E. Pischke, president of the American College Health Association.
The association’s national director, David Gelles, said the problem is compounded by a shortage of students, which has led to a shortage in enrollments.
“The colleges are getting overwhelmed, and they are getting pushed to make decisions that they’re not sure are best for students,” Gells said.
“That’s the nature of the beast.”
Gelles cited the recent closure of two prestigious private colleges in Virginia and California.
“It’s really an indication of the magnitude of the challenges facing students and schools across the country,” he said.
At the University of California system, admissions to the undergraduate and graduate levels are down 10% this year, according the university’s Office of Admissions.
At the University at Albany, admissions fell 14% in the first six months of this year.
At Duke University, the college’s admissions service reported a 7% drop in enrollment this year compared to the same time last year.
In contrast, enrollment at Dartmouth College has been increasing for years.
At Northwestern University, enrollment dropped 5.5% for the year.
While the colleges are struggling, many schools are seeing an increase in applications, which in turn has led them to make more cuts in class sizes and offer more financial aid to students.
“We are just seeing the opposite trend,” said James T. Schlesinger, a University of Michigan professor who has studied the admissions process at colleges.
“More students are applying and they’re being accepted.
This is a trend that is going to continue.”
Admissions officers at some universities have warned that they will need to cut class sizes in order to keep up with rising enrollment.
And at other schools, administrators have been making cuts in the number of full-time and part-time students they admit, according of the association’s data.
“When it comes to the admissions of students who are entering the college environment at an increasing rate, colleges are in trouble,” said Richard Schoen, director of the Center for Higher Education Management at the University Of California at Los Angeles.
Schoen said that the problem isn’t just a problem at large, but at the college level as well.
“It’s not just a student shortage at the colleges,” he added.
“There’s a student crisis at colleges that we’re not seeing.”
At a time when the nation is grappling with the nation-wide opioid epidemic, students are turning to campus life for support.
In recent years, colleges have become magnets for opioid users, who are now taking advantage of a loophole in the law that allows students to receive financial aid from colleges in order “to provide for the education of their families.”
The college student crisis is a symptom of a much larger national problem, Schoen said.
“One of the reasons for the crisis is the increase in drug use in the last several years,” he continued.
“The increase in overdose deaths has been staggering.”
The problem is not limited to colleges.
A recent Pew Research Center study found that the percentage of Americans who said they used marijuana rose from 22% in 2013 to 29% in 2015, according, the report found.
It also found that Americans are less likely to say they’re aware of the dangers of marijuana.
In an effort to make the college admissions process more user-friendly, schools have introduced new rules that require students to show that they have a “safe environment” to be accepted.
And colleges have implemented policies to help students navigate their college life.
In recent years there have been more students applying to colleges for the first time, according an analysis by The Associated Press.
But the AP also found the number is falling as students try to figure out which schools to attend.
“They have been in the process of trying to figure it out for the past five years,” said David Lippman, director for enrollment management at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
“And they’ve been frustrated and they’ve wanted to try to make it work.”
A few years ago, college admissions officers told students that the best way to get in was to use “diversity” to “get a feel for the diversity of your college experience,” said Matthew C. Stahl, president and CEO of the Association for College Admission Counseling.
“But in reality, you don’t know whether or not that is the case.”
And many colleges, he said,