Weak Enrollment Pressures US Higher Education

Fitch Ratings

September 19, 2022
Fitch Ratings-Chicago/New York-19 September 2022: Enrollment pressures are expected to continue to weigh on US higher education even as the pandemic effects recede, with less selective institutions facing credit pressure, Fitch Ratings says. While freshmen matriculation and international student enrollment have rebounded somewhat from 2021 and 2020, unfavorable demographics and shifting employment qualifications in the broader economy may negatively affect long-term enrollment.
Enrollment pressures will be felt unevenly. The most selective universities, few of which saw any significant enrollment declines during the pandemic, are expected to see steady student demand. Enrollment at less selective, typically smaller, four-year degree institutions is unlikely to rebound to pre-pandemic levels this fall, further straining budgets given their higher dependence on student-generated revenues.