COVID-19 Caused Fewer College Enrollments This Fall, Study Finds

Office of admissions street sign

Office of admissions street sign

According to a survey by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the number of students enrolling in college immediately after high school plunged nearly 22% this fall over last year.

The survey found that the drop-off varied substantially by institution, with community colleges showing the largest enrollment decline among low-income students and public four-year universities the lowest, citing that high-poverty, urban schools were hit the hardest.

The research center used preliminary data as of Sept. 18 to estimate the immediate enrollment rates of graduates from more than 2,300 high schools with differing income, racial and neighborhood characteristics. Additionally, the 21.7% decline in immediate college enrollment of high school graduates in fall 2020 was nearly eight times the pre-pandemic loss.

According to the report, overall, the percentage of high school graduates nationally who enrolled in college dropped to 27.7% from about 35.5% the previous year.

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