Enrollment at Tennessee's Board of Regents colleges and universities is down more than 3% this year over 2011.
At Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, enrollment dropped by more than 1,000 students for the first time in 15 years.
MTSU spokesman Jimmy Hart told Nashville's News 2 he believes the drop is influenced by the economy and higher tuition.
“The economy has impacted a lot of families,” he said. “Tuition increases have factored into that, but the data shows that TBR [Tennessee Board of Regents] institutions across the board are all dropping in enrollment.”
TBR spokesperson Monica Greppin-Watts added, “If you look at TBR enrollments historically, we've seen as the economy runs into difficult times, particularly during past recession periods, it's not uncommon for enrollment to increase. When the economy begins to recover, its expected to drop again as people re-enter the workforce.”
Other universities and colleges across the state also saw a dramatic decrease in student enrollment as well.
At Austin Peay State University enrollment is down 6.4%, East Tennessee State University reported a 4.3% decrease and Tennessee Tech reported a 2.4% decrease.