“Freshman enrollment fell in all four-year sectors, including highly selective private and public flagship institutions”
Inflation combined with Covid has been like a wrecking ball for higher education.
The College Fix reports:
College enrollment falls for third consecutive year
Student enrollment at colleges and universities has dropped for the third consecutive year, continuing a trend that began during COVID and worrying higher education officials.
“While early signs led many to predict a slight rebound from the steep two-year drop-off during the pandemic, a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that enrollment fell for the fifth semester in a row, dampening those hopes,” Inside Higher Ed reported.
“Overall enrollment fell by 1.1 percent, closer to pre-pandemic levels than the more drastic declines that shocked leaders over the past two years. The rate of decline has decreased by almost a third since fall 2020.”
The undergraduate count is now “about 7 percent lower than it was in fall 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic rocked higher education,” the Washington Post reported.
The news agencies’ data comes from a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report, released Thursday.
“I certainly wouldn’t call this a recovery,” Doug Shapiro, the research center’s executive director, told the Post. “We’re seeing smaller declines, but when you’re in a deep hole, the fact that you’re only digging a tiny bit further is not really good news. … We don’t see a huge upsurge of first-year students, of freshmen, especially at the four-year institutions.”
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center website states undergrad enrollment “fell across sectors, especially among four-year institutions. … Freshman enrollment fell in all four-year sectors, including highly selective private and public flagship institutions.”
Some billed the news as a positive sign. An NPR headline stated: “The college enrollment drop is finally letting up. That’s the good news.”
But Shapiro, the research center’s director, said in a news release that after “two straight years of historically large losses, it is particularly troubling that numbers are still falling, especially among freshmen.”
There are a few places where enrollment grew, however, namely Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, and online programs, the report found.
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