Talking Numbers

Sponsored by

Why falling college enrollment could be good for the markets

Talking Numbers

Is the recent drop in college enrollment a sign things are looking up?

Less people are enrolling in colleges. And, that might spell trouble for education stocks.

According the US Census Bureau, college enrollment dropped 467,000 in 2012 from the previous year. There are now 19.93 million people currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs in the United States. This changes direction from the huge growth in enrollments from 2006 to 2011, when the US added 3.2 million undergrad and grad students.

What caused the drop? Older students. The amount of students over the age of 25 dropped by 419,000 – about 90% of the entire decrease in enrollments.

(Read: College savings on the rise, but still falling short)

This is significant because older students are more likely to have been in the full-time workforce prior to their enrollment. Unemployment and a need to attain skills would be reasons why some over the typical median age would have time to enroll (nearly three quarters of grad students are 25 or older). But, a stronger demand for workers – an upswing in the economy, for instance – would mean less time or need for school.

In other words, over-25 enrollments can be seen as countercyclical. With that in mind, will the potential for a stronger economy mean education stocks can take a hit?

(Read: Sky high university fees: worth it for the salary boost?)

One education company has had a tough couple of years already. Apollo Group – the company behind such institutions as the for-profit University of Phoenix – had the worst performing stock in the entire S&P 500 Index in 2012. Last year, Apollo Group’s shares fell nearly 62% and this year, it’s down an additional 9%.

Can Apollo Group turn itself around? Looking at the fundamentals of the company is CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global. On the charts is Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson.

Watch the video above to see Sanchez and Ross analyze Apollo Group to help you decide.

-----

Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCNumbers
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/CNBCNumbers

View Comments