May 26, 2022
Some 662,000 fewer undergraduates enrolled in college in spring 2022 compared to the year before, continuing a downward trend seen throughout the pandemic, according to figures released Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Those losses represent a 4.7% decline in undergraduate students — a steeper downturn than what was seen in the fall. Dips occurred across all institution types tracked, including public universities, private institutions and community colleges.
The report spells more bad news for the higher education sector, which has been hammered by enrollment declines for years.
“I am surprised that it seems to be getting worse,” Doug Shapiro, executive director of the research center, said during a call with reporters Wednesday. “I thought that we would start to see some of these declines begin to shrink a little bit this term.”
Community colleges bore the brunt of the declines, with a 7.8% drop-off representing 351,000 fewer students compared to the year before. Those losses make up more than half of the total enrollment declines seen this term.