Enrollment still down with three-quarters of colleges reporting
November 12, 2020
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.
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.