College enrollment declines ease, new data show
College enrollment declines eased in the fall after steep drops over the pandemic, according to a new report released Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
In 2022, fall undergraduate enrollment only contracted by 0.6 percent compared to 2021.
Part of the stabilizing declines can be attributed to a 4.3 percent increase in freshman enrollment compared to fall 2021. However, freshman enrollment is still down 150,000 students compared to 2019, right before the pandemic.
The pandemic gave a significant hit on college enrollment, exacerbating a decline in college enrollment that has been going on for the past decade.
Community colleges saw a significant increase in fall 2022, with a rise of 6.1 percent compared to fall 2019, according to the report. It is a welcomed reprieve as community college enrollment was hit hard by the pandemic.
Four-year public school enrollment rates also went up by 3.9 percent, while comprehensive state institutions took on the brunt of the decline.
Latino and Asian undergrad students saw a slight increase in their enrollment numbers at 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, while white, Black and Native American students saw declines.
The majors students are currently looking the most at are business and marketing, health professions, liberal arts and sciences, biological sciences and engineering, the report reads.
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