Undergraduate Enrollment Declines Show No Signs of Recovery From 2020
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, fall postsecondary enrollment numbers show no signs of recovery from last year’s declines, according to early data released today in an update to Stay Informed with the Latest Enrollment Information.
With 50.5% of institutions, representing 8.4 million students, reporting to the Clearinghouse as of September 23, undergraduate enrollment continues to decline, falling by 3.2% since fall 2020. This echoes last fall’s drop of 3.4%.
Combined with fall 2020’s declines, the number of undergraduate students has now fallen by a total of 6.5% from two years ago in fall 2019. Graduate student enrollment continued to grow, reaching 2.1% above last year’s level, for a total increase of 5.3% over two years. Overall postsecondary enrollment (undergrad and grad combined) declined by 2.3% this year, for a total two-year decline of 4.6%.
“Far from filling the hole of last year’s enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see significant nationwide declines in undergraduate students, and community colleges remain the most adversely affected sector, experiencing a 14.1% total enrollment decline since fall 2019.”
The next update to the Stay Informed with the Latest Enrollment Information research that tracks the impact of COVID-19 on postsecondary enrollments is scheduled for late November. As with all Stay Informed releases, today’s data are preliminary and subject to change as more colleges submit their data to the Clearinghouse.
Undergraduate Enrollment Changes by Sector
“Far from filling the hole of last year’s enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper.”
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center