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A look at college enrollment decline

University students listening to their senior professor during class at lecture hall.
skynesher / Getty Images
University students listening to their senior professor during class at lecture hall.

Declining college enrollment has opened up a bigger conversation about the value of a college degree. From 2010 to 2021, undergraduate enrollment dropped by 15%.This declining trend in college enrollment was magnified by the pandemic when perceptions of the value of a degree really began to shift.

The decision making process for potential college students has become more personalized. Potential students have access to alternative pathways, and the ones that do go to college have needs that aren’t often met by the current model of college education.High costs, conflicting work schedules, and concerns ROI are barriers that affect a person's decision.

This shift away from degree requirements, restarting financial aid payments in October 2023,and the social conversations about college undoubtedly cause us to wonder who should go to college.

This hour, we talk about the college conversation.


  • Steve Schneider: High School Counselor at Sheboygan South High School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Katharine Meyer: a Fellow in Governance Studies and Higher Education Researcher at the Brookings Institution.
  • Courtney Brown: Vice President of Impact and Planning at Lumina Foundation

Where We Live is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Connecticut Public Talk Show Intern Joey Morgan produced this broadcast.

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Tess is a senior producer for Connecticut Public news-talk show Where We Live. She enjoys hiking Connecticut's many trails and little peaks, gardening and writing in her seven journals.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.