5 higher education trends to watch in 2021

Education Dive

Hallie Busta
January 3, 2021

Enrollment changes, a return to campus, the future of admissions testing and more stories we’ll be following this year.

We’re all hoping some degree of pre-pandemic life will return in 2021. But for higher education, many of the trends that dominated storylines in 2020 will continue into this year. We’ve rounded up a few below and will be following them throughout the year.

Will enrollment bounce back?

Colleges collectively enrolled about 560,000 fewer undergraduates this fall, a 3.6% decrease from a year ago. The losses were much steeper at community colleges and among first-time students. While the pandemic hasn’t been found to have had a negative effect on overall high school graduation rates, low-income schools and those with high shares of Black and Hispanic students sent far fewer graduates to college this fall. The number of international students at U.S. colleges also tanked.