New concerns are being raised about the long-term outlook of higher education as enrollment numbers continue to decline and coronavirus relief funds run out.
College enrollment declined by 4.1% in the spring 2022 term compared to spring 2021, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center semesterly report . The center places the total decline of undergraduate students since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 at 9.4%, a drop of 1.4 million students in the two-year span.
“This is a trend that the pandemic has accelerated,” Robert Eitel, the Defense of Freedom Institute president and a former U.S. Department of Education official, told the Washington Examiner. “The downward trend in enrollment was an issue prior to the pandemic, [and] the pandemic has highlighted the issue as higher education looks over the horizon and sees the declining birth rate. The mathematics are such that the students, at least graduating high school seniors, aren’t going to be there.”
The enrollment decline has been widespread, with private and public colleges all affected to varying degrees and community colleges seeing the greatest decline. The lone outlier to the overall national trend is conservative religious colleges, many of which have seen record growth. Read more…