About 1.5 million fewer students are enrolled than before the pandemic, says report from National Student Clearinghouse
College enrollment dropped for the third consecutive school year after the start of the pandemic, dashing universities’ hopes that a post-Covid rebound was at hand.
The rate of the decline has slowed this fall, with college enrollment dropping 1.1% since last autumn. Over the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, enrollment fell about 6.5%, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit that released a report Thursday.
About 1.5 million fewer students are enrolled in college than before the pandemic, according to the nonprofit.
“I certainly wouldn’t call this a recovery,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse. “After two straight years of historically large losses in student enrollment it’s particularly troubling that the numbers have not climbed back at this point, especially among freshmen.”
Online schools and historically Black colleges and universities were among the few categories of schools to enroll more students in the fall, data show. The shift reflects a change in the way students say they are choosing their colleges.