February 24, 2022
As students left higher education in droves during the pandemic, 25 colleges and universities launched campaigns to re-enroll them ahead of fall 2021, in partnership with InsideTrack, a nonprofit that helps institutions enroll students and improve academic outcomes through coaching. The campaigns yielded positive results, according to preliminary data released by InsideTrack today.
Partner colleges and universities ultimately reached out to 27,000 students who stopped out during the pandemic. About 73 percent of those students were students of color, first-generation students, low-income students or older adult learners. Success coaches were able to re-enroll 3,000 students for the summer and fall 2021 semesters.
The 25 partner institutions included eight community colleges, four public universities and three private, nonprofit institutions. A cohort of eight historically Black colleges and universities and one predominantly Black institution also participated as part of a pilot program launched by the United Negro College Fund. These campaigns to re-engage former students follow staggering enrollment declines at colleges and universities across the country—undergraduate enrollment nationwide fell 6.6 percent between fall 2019 and fall 2021, a loss of more than a million students, according to recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Ruth Bauer White, president of InsideTrack, described re-enrollment efforts as a critical part of the country’s economic recovery and “equitable social mobility” after the pandemic.
“Over the last two years in the pandemic, so many people have left school and have left education because they had to for many reasons, whether it was financial, their own well-being, feeling pulled in many directions, having to stay at home to take care of their own children,” she said. “For us to kind of recover from the last couple of years, part of that is getting folks back on track to achieve their goals and focus on the future and have hope.”