(WFXR)– Is college worth it? That’s the question many Americans are pending after recent nationwide trends continue to show college enrollment is declining.

As of Spring this year, public four-year colleges were down by 3.5%, according to the “National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.”

So, what is the reasoning behind the decline?

President of “ForWord Consulting,” for college admissions counseling, Catherine Ganley says when it comes to colleges and universities some experts say students may be losing their trust in higher education.

“There is a sense that I can achieve the same level of financial security by not going to college,” said Ganley

However, picking a major also plays a huge role.

“Right now, the top majors out there of the highest earning income potential generally have the word engineer after it,” said Ganley.

What’s scaring potential students the most when it comes to four-year schools — is the ticket price that comes with it.

“A lot of people are wondering if it makes sense to get a liberal arts degree if you are going to go to brown and be 250,000 dollars in debt,” said Ganley.

Last week, Radford University released a press release reporting that fall enrollment is down by 6.7%.

In a statement, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Craig Cornell, says they are looking to strengthen support for enrollment that leads to stronger future careers.

“We also continue to pursue on-trend academic programs that support high demand careers, such as cybersecurity. Students are the heart of the story here at Radford.”

Craig Cornell, Vice President for Enrollment Management


Ganley says, in Virginia, larger four-year-public universities are not as affected by this nationwide trend.

Instead, they are actually seeing an increase in application numbers.

She adds if schools want to maintain retention, then they need to better support the students that are there in their academic endeavors. Some academic experts believe the future model for college may change just a bit.

“I think that in order for colleges to be successful I am hoping they will continue capitalizing on the infrastructure they made for online learning so that students who have non-traditional lives don’t feel a need for what we consider the traditional 4-year-college experience,” said Ganley.

That includes adding more options like vocational schooling for students who want to work, while also pursuing higher education.

Virginia Tech says they recently conducted their student census and will be releasing those numbers this week.