Enrollment still down with three-quarters of colleges reporting


Hallie Busta
November 12, 2020
Dive Brief:
  • Undergraduate enrollment decreases deepened slightly as more schools shared their numbers with the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, according to data released Thursday.
  • Colleges reported 4.4% fewer undergraduates than a year ago as of Oct. 22, compared to a 4% lag as of late September. Graduate enrollment was up 2.9% in October, compared to 2.7% in September.
  • The latest report accounts for 76% of institutions the Clearinghouse covers, or 13.6 million students. A final count will be available mid-December.
Dive Insight:
The fall enrollment picture is filling in as more colleges share data with the Clearinghouse. And while, overall, higher education enrollment is still down by about 3% from last fall, the latest release shows a few changes in how those losses are materializing.
The steepest declines continue to be among community colleges and first-year students, though their pace has eased as more colleges report numbers.
At for-profit colleges, earlier data indicated enrollment was up, but the latest numbers show it dropping. This is in part because for-profit colleges tend to have more flexible start dates than other institutions and so some that already reported are revising their numbers, Doug Shapiro, the center’s executive director, said on a call with reporters Wednesday.