Enrollments at local colleges are starting to flatten as the recession recedes, with enrollment at Indiana University Northwest up 2.5 percent his year as compared to an increase of 7 percent in 2011.
For public institutions, the prospects for any increased funding to make up for previous cuts do not look good, said Micah Pollak, assistant professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest.
He recently surveyed the campaigns of 16 candidates for contested state Senate and House races in Northwest Indiana and only one-third mentioned education as a primary goal. The subject of education also has been noticeably absent from the contest for governor.
"There is probably not much money coming down the road from the Statehouse," Pollak said.
Schools are reacting by differentiating themselves from others, changing classroom courses to online courses and working closely with industry to prepare students for jobs.