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College Enrollment Dropped by Almost Half a Million Students in Fall of 2021

College Enrollment Dropped by Almost Half a Million Students in Fall of 2021

“dropped 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a decline of 476,100 students”

The combination of the economy and COVID is taking a wrecking ball to higher ed.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

Fall’s Final Enrollment Count Is In. Colleges Lost More Than 475,000 Students.

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center provides a somber final tally of total college enrollment in the fall of 2021: It dropped 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a decline of 476,100 students.

Undergraduate enrollment, which was down at every type of institution, slipped by 3.1 percent — or 465,318 students — from the fall of 2020. The total decline among undergraduates since the fall of 2019 — just before the pandemic hit — was more than a million students, the center said.

As colleges navigate their second full academic year of the pandemic — with some pivoting to online instruction as cases of Covid’s Omicron variant rise — undergraduates are “continuing to sit out in droves,” Doug Shapiro, the center’s executive director, said in a news release.

One somewhat bright spot appeared in the center’s new report: The data show that freshman enrollment stabilized in the fall of 2021, increasing 0.4 percent. Four-year private nonprofit colleges added 11,600 students to lead that increase.

But enrollment for that group of students still didn’t come close to what it was before the pandemic. The fall-2021 freshman class was 9.2 percent smaller — about 213,000 students — than it was in the fall of 2019.

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retiredcantbefired | January 14, 2022 at 10:05 am

Richly deserved.


 
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lawgrad | January 15, 2022 at 7:02 am

I would like to see more detailed data. If enrollment in STEM or Engineering is down dramatically, I would panic. If enrollment in the humanities, “grievance studies” etc are down, I would sit back and watch.

The main problem is the lack of a feedback loop to drive student decisions. Society has claimed that your undergraduate major does not matter, because learning to to think critically and other soft skills are what is important. However, with higher education under COVID restrictions, it is exactly the soft skills that are being eliminated from the program. How can a faulty member mentor undergraduates if all contacts are over Zoom in a non-contact degree-granting conveyor belt?

What is happening to ROTC enrollment?

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