The number of high school graduates peaked in 2011 at 3.4 million and will drop to about 3.2 million next year. That’s not a huge decline, granted, but it’s a big change from the two previous decades where colleges could count on an ever-growing population of “traditional age” students.
Still, the experts I interviewed for this week’s Reuters column about declining enrollment don’t believe we’ll see lower college costs any time soon. Less demand will moderate the increases, they say, and so will an improved economy. States are likely to restore some of the funds they cut during the recession and its aftermath, which should decrease the pressure to keep raising tuition.
The short version: college demographics, and college costs, are a many-faceted thing. There wasn’t just one factor that led to spiraling tuition costs, and a single factor won’t reverse that trend.
So keep contributing to that 529.