College Enrollment Decline – Accounted by four states

College Enrollment Decline – Accounted by four states
  • A report released by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center stated that 50% of the national decrease in college enrollment is accounted for by the four states namely California, New York, Ohio and Texas between Fall 2019 and Fall 2021. Undergraduate enrollment decreased by 1,025,600 students and overall enrollment decreased by 937,500 students or 5.1%.
  • The enrollment losses occurred in all parts of the country but the losses were particularly sharp in numbers in these four states; California lost 247,132 students accounting for 26% of the national total, New York lost 94,932 students accounting for 10% of the national decline, Ohio lost 64,288 students accounting for 7% of the total and Texas lost 62,722 students accounting for 7% of the total. The loss in these four states when combined exceed their combined share of college enrollments by a margin of 50% to 30%.
  • The top ten states with large enrollment losses are; Washington lost 53,065 students, Michigan lost 52,041 students, Pennsylvania lost 40,929 students, Illinois lost 40,332 students, New Jersey lost 35,116 students and Massachusetts lost 31,772 students.
  • The combined enrollment in these states accounts for 77% of the enrollment loss which is far larger than their 45% share of total national enrollment. Among these, only four states saw college enrollment increase; New Hampshire gained 41,740 students, Utah gained 17,312 students, Arizona gained 9,173 students and Nebraska gained 97 students.
  • Community colleges have been the hardest hit area since the beginning of the pandemic with a loss of 13.2% students and the public four-year institutions lost nearly 3.8% of the students compared to the previous year. The enrollment decrease in private, non-profit institutions is equivalent to a 1.7% loss.
  • The decline is mainly due to the tight labour market which has made entry-level jobs much more plentiful and attractive which made young adults postpone college. Also, the uncertainty in the reopening and closing of colleges have discouraged many prospective students from enrolling. The pandemic has increased economic anxieties and made students doubt whether they can afford college.

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