- Student enrollment has reduced once again this fall which has prompted some to worry about whether the declines experienced during the pandemic could become a trend. The undergraduate admissions in fall 2021 dropped 3.1 per cent or by 465300 students as compared to the previous year.
- Similarly, the drop is the same as that of the previous fall and this shows that there is a 6.6 per cent decline in undergraduate enrollment since 2019. This data clearly states that more than 1 million students have gone missing from higher education due to the pandemic.
- People have not been pursuing credentials as before even after the return to normalcy and it is speculated that the declines indicate a shift in attitude about higher education and could threaten the economic trajectory of the generation.
- This may continue as a cultural shift and not just a short-term effect of the pandemic as students are starting to question the value of college. There is a high number of job openings and job seekers are luring many would-be students, mainly adult learners.
- There is an 11 per cent decrease in the number of students enrolled at four-year institutions and a 3.4 per cent drop in community colleges. However, there is a 13.2 per cent decrease in the public two-year colleges as many students withdrew from school because of family obligations and some struggled to attend online classes due to the network issue.
- As community colleges educated students from low-to-moderate-income families, the experts of higher education worry that the earning potentials of students would erode if the enrollment declines and that the students must be pulled back on track and re-engaged.
- The enrollment for the upcoming year may also be low as only 29 per cent of high school seniors have completed financial aid applications to attend college which is the same as last year. However, the freshman enrollment has been stabilized in fall 2021 following a decline the previous year.
- Enrollment has increased this fall in states such as Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In Maryland, the enrollment fell by 5 per cent with large declines in community colleges and in Virginia, the enrollment fell by 1.2 per cent.
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