As Employment Numbers Improve, Part-time and Community College Enrollment Goes Down

Ben Cassleman, writing for FiveThirtyEight, notes the drop in college enrollment among recent high-school graduates and argues that the decline is driven by the improving job market:

The drop in college attendance among recent high school graduates appears concentrated among groups most likely to be deciding between going to school and joining the labor force: Part-time and community college enrollments saw the sharpest decline.

UPDATE: 4/25/14: I took a look at the actual BLS report this morning, and I think it’s worth noting that the new data actually reverses the trend: the college enrollment rate for recent high school graduates in October 2013 (65.9%) was actually only very slightly down from October 2012 (66.2%). Cassleman acknowledges this in his article, but doesn’t think it’s that important since “enrollment rates remain above their pre-recession levels by most measures.” But it seems to me one could argue that the story in the most recent data is that the college enrollment decline over the last few years actually appears to have leveled off in 2013, even as employment prospects improved (at least a little bit) during the same period.