Undergraduate enrollment in America’s colleges and universities has fallen for eight consecutive years. In the fall of 2017, there were 16.8 million students enrolled in undergraduate programs, a 7% decrease from the total enrollment of 18.1 million in 2010.
The decline in college enrollment is attributable to a wide range of factors, including climbing tuition costs and the threat of a lifetime paying off student loans. Here is a year-by-year look at how the cost of college has climbed in recent decades. The downward trend in interest in attending school is not universal, however, and some colleges and universities are reporting a surge in applicants.
Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year changes in the number of applications submitted to nearly 600 four-year post-secondary institutions to identify the 100 colleges where applications climbed the most.
This list includes schools from all over the country: both public and private, large and small, urban and rural, nonprofit and for-profit. They also vary considerably in their selectivity, with some accepting fewer than one in every five applicants, while others accept nearly everyone who applies. Here is a look at the hardest colleges to get into.