PROOF POINTS: Many young adults choose work over college, report shows

The Hechinger Report 

Jill Barshya
November 1, 2021
All but the most selective colleges see the largest plunge in students in 50 years
As colleges around the country resumed in-person learning in the fall of 2021, many educators expected students to return to campus after taking a pandemic gap year. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Ivory Tower: even fewer students showed up than during the worst months of the pandemic in the fall of 2020.
The number of undergraduate students is expected to drop 3.2 percent in the 2021-22 academic year after plunging 3.4 percent during the 2020-21 pandemic year, according to preliminary data released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on Oct. 26, 2021. That adds up to 6.5 percent fewer undergraduate students now than there were  in the fall of 2019 before the pandemic.
“If this current rate of decline were to hold up, it would be the largest two-year enrollment decline in at least the last 50 years,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Half of the 3,600 colleges and universities that the Clearinghouse tracks have reported their fall enrollment data so far. Additional updates are expected in November and December.