College enrollment has slipped since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a new study shows.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which collected data from 76 percent of institutions and about 14 million students, undergraduate enrollment is 4.4% below last year’s level just two months into the fall semester.
Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said the most troubling trends are declining enrollment numbers for first-year students and funding for financial aid.
“The number of first-time students, college freshman and high school seniors who are filling out a [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] is down pretty significantly this year,” Draeger said, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported. “We’re down 16%.”
Community colleges have had the sharpest decline, according to the center.
However, graduate enrollments have increased by 2.9%, the center said.