Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

October 16, 2020

National college enrollment among first-year students plummets 16%

Photo | Grant Welker College of the Holy Cross in Worcester

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world of higher education are becoming clearer, as national enrollment is dropping among graduates and undergraduates, according to a new report from The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, looking at national fall semester data, through Sept. 24.

About a month into the fall semester, National Student Clearinghouse is reporting first-year student enrollment is down 16.1% from the previous fall semester. Overall undergraduate enrollment is 4% lower than last year. As for graduate enrollment, the previously reported 4% growth rate has fallen to 2.7%.

Nationally, community colleges are suffering the most with a 9.4% decrease in overall enrollment. Public four-year colleges are down 1.4% from last year and private nonprofit four-year colleges are down 2%. The only exception is for-profit, four-year colleges, which are running 3% higher than the previous year.

The drop broadly in enrollment nationally comes as colleges and would-be college students are grappling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Some colleges have gone to entirely virtual learning -- such as at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester -- while others like Worcester State University are offering a hybrid model. Quinsigamond Community College announced Friday it would continue online-only learning through the spring semester.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners

Related Content


Order a PDF