For the third year in a row, college enrollment numbers have declined. Undergraduate and graduate enrollment dropped by 1.1% between the fall of 2021 and 2022, but the total two-year decline has reached 3.2% since 2020.
The news comes from a report conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse. The nonprofit also found that the main drivers for the decline were the pandemic, concerns over student debt, and the high costs of higher education.
While most universities saw a decrease in enrollment, historically Black colleges (HBCUs) and primarily online institutions actually grew enrollment by 2.5% and 3.2%, respectively.
Though this is the third consecutive year of decline, there are signs of the tides changing. Even though there was a decrease in enrollment this year, it’s much less than the sharp drops that occurred during the pandemic. Community colleges, which were the most affected by the pandemic, only fell by 0.4% this year versus the double-digit drops they saw during Covid.
Perhaps now that Biden has rolled out a loan forgiveness plan, someone can take it a step further and make higher ed affordable for all, or at least not the cost of a mansion.