Finalized Spring Enrollment Numbers Shows Significant Drop

Related Topics in the Ref Desk: Enrollment Status

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter 

College enrollments in the past year have dropped by 3.5%, a decline that, according to a new report, accounts for 603,000 fewer students attending institutions nationwide.

The biannual report, published each December and May, is a part of the National Student Clearinghouse’s Current Term Enrollment Estimates (CTEE) series and provides a breakdown of the most current national enrollment estimates by institutional sector, enrollment intensity, age group, gender, and major field, as well as state-level enrollment estimates.

This most recent report differs from a previous analysis that was intended to measure the immediate effects of the pandemic by analyzing year-over-year percentage change in unadjusted, preliminary data.

Overall, spring enrollment in this most recent data set — that provides estimated postsecondary enrollment numbers based on the clearinghouse universe of institutions — fell from 17.5 million to 16.9 million, with undergraduate students accounting for the entirety of the decline, with a 4.9% drop, or 727,000 students.

In contrast, graduate enrollment jumped by 4.6%, adding more than 124,000 students.

The finalized data also determined that while every sector saw undergraduate enrollment dip this spring, community colleges continue to be the hardest hit, dropping by 9.5% or 476,000 students. In all, the community college sector accounted for over 65% of the total undergraduate enrollment losses.

Among all age groups, enrollment among students aged 18-24 saw the largest decline, dropping 5% overall. Enrollment among students of that age group at community college fell even more sharply, by 13.2%.

Enrollment among adult learners — those aged 25 or older — actually increased by 2% to 3% at public four-year and private nonprofit four-year colleges.

 

Publication Date: 6/11/2021


You must be logged in to comment on this page.

Comments Disclaimer: NASFAA welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in respectful conversation about the content posted here. We value thoughtful, polite, and concise comments that reflect a variety of views. Comments are not moderated by NASFAA but are reviewed periodically by staff. Users should not expect real-time responses from NASFAA. To learn more, please view NASFAA’s complete Comments Policy.

Related Content

New College Board Report Offers Snapshot Into College Enrollment and Retention

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

Americans’ Views on Value of Higher Education Hold Steady, But Fewer Say It Has Positive Impact

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

VIEW ALL
View Desktop Version