“On closer inspection, nationally there was no such long-term decline [in numbers of U.S. humanities students] and not even a short-term one during the downturn.”
There are more humanities students than ever, and we have greatly widened access both in terms of demographics and rural access. Even thirty years ago many types of students would never have had the chance to take such advanced studies. Current students have access to more knowledge and tools than ever before, and more opportunities when they graduate.
Coming soon to the humanities, a further widening of the student base. An annual influx of tens of millions of students living in Africa and India. Better, those students will be taking free MOOC courses that are inherently corruption-free, and can be assembled ad hoc to suit their needs — potentially freely mixing courses in the sciences, arts, history, and training for artisanal production.