Dear Commons Community,
College enrollments continue to worsen. Total postsecondary enrollment fell to 16.2 million this spring, marking a one-year decline of 4.1 percent or 685,000 students. Enrollment declined this spring at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Following a 3.5 percent drop last spring, postsecondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students since spring 2020. This according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Undergraduate enrollment accounted for most of the decline, dropping 4.7 percent this spring or over 662,000 students from spring 2021. As a result, the undergraduate student body is now 9.4 percent or nearly 1.4 million students smaller than before the pandemic.
Public institutions suffered the brunt of enrollment declines this spring, losing 604,000 students (-5.0% from a year ago). Community colleges accounted for more than half of these losses this spring (351,000 students) and have lost over 827,000 students since the start of the pandemic.
There were over 462,000 fewer women students (-4.6%) this spring, more than doubling the losses experienced the previous year, resulting in a two-year total decline of 665,000 women enrollments
A special analysis of the spring freshmen highlights distinctive pandemic-related enrollment trends. Nearly 340,000 students started college for the first time this spring, an increase of 4.2 percent from spring 2021. However, the growth this spring was not enough to return community college freshman enrollment to pre-pandemic levels, with the current freshmen numbers still running 7.9 percent (17,000 students) below spring 2020’s levels.