Most colleges reported an increase in student applications for fall 2009 admission, while 29% reported decreases (the largest proportion since 1996), according to the 2010 State of College Admission report released Wednesday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
The share of applicants offered admission at four-year institutions was 67% for the fall 2009 admission cycle. The average institutional yield rate was 43%, down from 49% in 2001. In other words, institutions, on average, are enrolling a smaller percentage of their accepted students.
It is difficult for colleges and universities to determine how many accepted students will enroll, due to a rise in applications submitted. The economic downturn may also have an impact on enrollment with more students waiting to compare financial aid packages before committing to an institution.
The number of new high school graduates in the U.S. peaked at 3.33 million in 2008-09, but dropped to 3.29 million in 2009-10. After more than a decade of steady growth, the number of graduates is projected to continue to decline through 2014-15, but rebound to 3.4 million by 2018-19.