Nationwide college enrollment declines for the seventh year in a row

Nationwide enrollment at colleges and universities dropped for the seventh consecutive year this spring, according to a report released Thursday.

Enrollment dropped 1.7 percent, or nearly 300,000 students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit higher education research organization.

The group estimates that there are 17.5 million undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S.

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Four-year for-profit colleges took the biggest hit, declining to 743,536 students in spring 2019 from 925,532 students in spring 2018, a 19.7 percent decrease.

The only category of school to see an increase in enrollment during that same period was four-year private nonprofit colleges, whose enrollment grew from 3,686,972 to 3,803,576, or 3.2 percent.

Most states saw drops in enrollment, led by Florida and Alaska which both experienced 5.2 percent declines.

New Hampshire saw a 9.9 percent increase, about 14,500 students, and Utah saw a 7.2 percent increase, about 22,500 students.