Enrollments remain strong at local colleges as the economy recovers ever so slowly, with large uncertainties such as the fiscal cliff still looming, according to Micah Pollak, Indiana University Northwest assistant professor of economics.
Usually college enrollments rise when recessions hit as people look to improve their skills and wait to re-enter the job market, Pollak said. That was true in the most recent recession.
College enrollments begin to fall again as the nation comes out of recession. But that is not holding true this time, at least to the extent that it has in prior recoveries, Pollak said.
Funding prospects for public colleges are not strong, with few people expecting the cuts made under the administration of former Gov. Mitch Daniels to be restored anytime soon.
"Certainly everyone wants better education," Pollak said. "But there are other issues that may trump it in the meantime."
The old saw that the region's economic recovery tends to lag the state's, and the state's tends to lag the nation's, seems to be holding in this recovery as in others, Pollak said.