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Spring Undergraduate Enrollment Down 5.9%; Community Colleges Decline 11.3%

by NSC Blog | Apr 29, 2021 | Research Reports, Research Services |

Steepest Declines So Far Since the Pandemic

​Spring undergraduate enrollment is down 5.9% compared to the same time last year, according to the latest research by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. This is the steepest decline in undergraduate enrollment since the beginning of the pandemic.

Undergraduate enrollment fell further across all institution types, with community colleges experiencing a double-digit decline for the first time during this pandemic, -11.3% compared to -9.5% last fall.

Overall postsecondary enrollment is down 4.2% from a year ago, while graduate enrollment continued to grow 4.4% nationwide. The research released today is based on data as of March 25, 2021, reflecting 12.6 million students and 76% of institutions that report to the Clearinghouse.

“The continuing slide in community college enrollments is of great concern,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “In a sign of potentially long-lasting impact on the level of skills and credentials in the workforce, there is still no age group showing increases at community colleges, even after a full year of pandemic and related unemployment.”

To learn more, read the press release and the COVID-19 Stay Informed with the Latest Enrollment Information report.

For additional information, listen to the Research Center’s recent webinar about the pandemics’ impact on college enrollments.

Undergraduate Enrollment Changes by Sector

“The continuing slide in community college enrollments is of great concern.”

Doug Shapiro
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

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