“Enrollments are still down over all for higher education — by 3.3 percent. The decline was previously 3 percent.”
The coronavirus pandemic is being blamed for these poor numbers, but that is probably only part of the picture. Higher education has been due for this reckoning for years.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Enrollment Still Down
The latest round of data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center paints a similarly dreary enrollment picture as previous reports.
The research center has been studying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment in higher education, producing a new report about every month this fall. The new numbers are based on 76 percent of colleges in the nation reporting as of Oct. 22. The previous report included 54 percent of postsecondary institutions.
Not much has changed between the two reports. Enrollments are still down over all for higher education — by 3.3 percent. The decline was previously 3 percent.
Undergraduate enrollment is also slightly lower in this report. Last month, it was down 4 percent. It’s now down 4.4 percent. Graduate enrollment is up slightly from the last report, at 2.9 percent compared to 2.7 percent.
Freshman enrollment is still down, but less so than before. The decline is now 13 percent overall, compared to 16 percent in the previous report. Community college freshman enrollment also slightly improved, from a 23 percent decline to a 19 percent decline. Experts had previously said they expected community college enrollment to improve as the second eight-week term at those institutions started.
The report includes some more specific data on enrollments, as well. It has changes in enrollment for freshmen that can be broken out by sector and race or ethnicity, said Doug Shapiro, director of the research center.
The difference between freshman enrollment for underrepresented minorities and white and Asian American students is starker, he said. Black, Hispanic and Native American freshman enrollment is down by nearly 30 percent at community colleges. White and Asian American freshman enrollment is down by about 20 percent at community colleges.
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