All three schools in the AUC have reported a drop in enrollment that has resulted in the schools making cuts to their budgets. Morehouse College said it will furlough faculty and cut its budget because of the drop.
Morehouse saw a decrease of 125 students, Spelman College said enrollment was down by a dozen students and Clark Atlanta University found 433 fewer students enrolled this year, according to statements from the universities.
School administrators attributed the decrease to fewer students being able to qualify for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or the Parent PLUS loan.
Loan denials at Clark Atlanta increased from 25 percent last year to more than 65 percent this year, the school's president, Carlton Brown, said in a statement.
The US Department of Education intensified standards for getting the loans this year. To qualify, an applicant's parents can't have any defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcies, tax liens or wage garnishments within the past five years.
"This is a challenge, no question about that," Morehouse Interim Provost Willis Sheftall told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "But it is not a crisis."
Most years only about 8 percent of Morehouse students who make a deposit to attend the college don't enroll, but this year that number doubled and 16 percent of students did not enroll.
To cut spending, Morehouse currently plans "no more than five furlough days," Sheftall said. Most faculty and managers will take their days during spring break while other staff spread their days throughout the budget year, he said.
Morehouse will reduce the number of part-time faculty during the spring semester. Sheftall admitted that could increase the number of students in some classes and give students fewer course sections to choose from.