Dear Commons Community,
According to the latest report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, freshman enrollment is down nationwide by 16.1 percent. The data also show a continuation of downward trends in undergraduate enrollment (see figure above) and among various demographic groups that the research organization reported last month.
But its findings about freshmen were both new and striking, including that the population of first-time community-college students dropped 22.7 percent from a year ago. The latest report reflects data on 9.2 million students at 54 percent of the postsecondary institutions reporting to the research center, and is current as of September 24. Among the report’s other findings:
- Undergraduate enrollment for the fall is 4 percent lower than it was a year ago, which is steeper than the 2.5-percent drop in undergraduates recorded last month.
- Decreases across all racial and ethnic groups are steeper than those described a month ago.
- Undergraduate male enrollment fell at nearly triple the rate of the drop in female enrollment (6.4 percent versus 2.2 percent).
- Undergraduate enrollment was down across all types of institutions, except at four-year for-profit colleges, where it increased by 3 percent over last fall.
- Graduate enrollment increased, but at a lower rate — 2.7 percent — than the 3.9 percent observed last month.
These data are cause for concern.