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    New Report Indicates College Enrollment is on a Downward Trend

    New Report Indicates College Enrollment is on a Downward Trend

    “The largest declines of all are in first-year students.”

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    Higher education is already feeling a lot of pain because of the pandemic, but it’s going to get worse.

    Inside Higher Ed reports:

    Report: Enrollment Continues to Trend Downward

    The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has bad news. Again.

    Its latest fall 2020 enrollment report continues to show downward trajectories nearly across the board in higher education. As of Sept. 24, undergraduate enrollment is now 4 percent lower than it was last fall — a 1.5-percentage-point decrease from earlier this semester.

    This latest report includes data from more colleges. It’s based on reporting from about 54 percent of postsecondary institutions, or data for 9.2 million students, compared to 22 percent of institutions earlier this fall. The next update is scheduled for Nov. 12.

    The largest declines of all are in first-year students. Just over 16 percent fewer freshmen have enrolled this fall compared to last year. Graduate enrollment was trending upward earlier. While it’s still an increase over last year, that gain has slipped by 1.3 percentage points.

    “For the most part, things are worse by almost half,” said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the clearinghouse. “But we really don’t have a way to know whether that is likely to continue.”

    Somewhat surprisingly, public and private nonprofit four-year institutions are doing relatively well, he said during a webinar presenting the report.


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    mochajava76 | October 17, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    There are multiple reasons that enrollment might go down.
    One is COVID (Wuhan Flu) and frustration with online learning.
    Others might be some students might need to take a gap year and work if their parents were laid off during the pandemic, to help the family.

    Some mentioned non-college work paths, like the armed forces and/or trades.

    The article does not correlate the data with birth rates from 18 years ago. We know birth rates declined around 18-25 years ago (that is a guestimate – i don’t know the exact figures), and we have not hit the nadir yet.

    There are fewer possible students and colleges are fishing in the lake with less fish each year.

    MajorWood | October 18, 2020 at 1:19 am

    I suspect this is a best case scenario and that the schools who are really screwed at the moment aren’t even letting that data see the light of day. Oberlin went to 3 terms of 2000 students vs 2 terms of 3000 students for the academic year. I predicted numbers of 1800, 1500, and 1300 for the three terms. Will be interesting to see how close I was by the end of next summer.

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