College Enrollment Declines For Third Consecutive Year

College enrollment in the United States has fallen for the third straight year. The latest report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed fall 2022 enrollment declined by 1.1% from fall 2021.

Freshmen enrollment was down 1.5% overall, with a 5.6% drop in highly selective institutions. Those same colleges reported a 10.7% gain in first-year students last fall.

While most four-year colleges saw a decrease in freshmen students, community colleges saw a 0.9% increase this year. However, overall enrollment at community colleges still declined by 0.4%.

The decline was also seen in students enrolling in graduate programs. While those programs gained students last year, they saw a 1% decrease in enrollment this fall.

“After two straight years of historically large losses, it is particularly troubling that numbers are still falling, especially among freshmen,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “Although the decline has slowed and there are some bright spots, a path back to pre-pandemic enrollment levels is growing further out of reach.”

Colleges may have a harder time finding students who are qualified to attend after a recent report found that 42% of the high schoolers who took the ACT college admissions test failed to meet benchmarks in English, reading, math, and science.

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