Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Noah Smith

Are U.S. Colleges' Glory Days Over?

Enrollment has declined for three consecutive years.
Soon there will be fewer like us.

Soon there will be fewer like us.

Photographer: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The golden age of college in the U.S. may be drawing to a close. 

The latest enrollment numbers are the clearest evidence. After climbing for many decades, college enrollment has now fallen for three consecutive years. One of the longest-running and most important trends in American history has reversed itself.