Dive Quick:

  • Undergraduate enrollment declined .6% in the tumble 2022 expression, marking however another calendar year-around-calendar year lower — but a person that is the smallest yet considering that the pandemic began, according to knowledge from the Countrywide University student Clearinghouse Analysis Heart. 
  • Enrollment remains effectively below pre-pandemic ranges. Due to the fact the health crisis broke out, greater schooling institutions have drop all around 1.2 million undergraduates. Smaller raises in the amount of graduate college students in excess of the period of time aided blunt some of the declines, however this development seems to be fading. 
  • Public four-yr schools experienced the largest undergraduate enrollment drop, 1.4%, totaling about 88,000 students. That was followed by four-12 months private nonprofits, whose enrollment was basically flat with a .1% decrease, representing a loss of 2,500 college students. 

Dive Perception: 

The preliminary figures present hope that undergraduate enrollment losses are commencing to stabilize. Enrollment progress of first-12 months learners was notably powerful, with 97,000 far more enrolling in college in tumble 2022 when compared to the 12 months before, symbolizing a 4.3% raise. 

That was genuine throughout institution kinds. Four-12 months for-revenue noticed the most significant growth among this population, of 6.9%, adopted by group faculties, which saw a 6.1% increase. Community 4-yr schools had a 3.9% increase in initial-year students, when four-yr personal nonprofits noticed much more modest advancement of 1.8%. 

For-profits saw the major enhance in initially-12 months college students

1st-12 months undergraduate enrollment by establishment kind

“It’s very encouraging to start seeing signs of a recovery here, even though there’s still a long way to go before freshmen classes return to their 2019 levels,” said Doug Shapiro, the research center’s executive director, during a call with reporters Wednesday. 

In fall 2019, colleges enrolled almost 2.5 million first-year students. In fall 2022, that number fell to about 2.3 million, meaning the first-year population was still around 6% below pre-pandemic levels. 

Graduate enrollment has also started declining after two years of strong growth. In fall 2022, it fell 1.2%, representing about 39,000 students. That comes after it increased 3% in 2020 and 2.4% in 2021. 

Graduate enrollment started to sink

Year-over-year enrollment changes by enrollment type

“Initially, in the pandemic, we saw declines among undergraduates but growth among graduate students,” Shapiro said. “We’re now seeing the end of that growth trend at the graduate level and some slight declines among graduate program enrollments.” 

Four-year for-profits bore the brunt of those declines, with graduate enrollment falling 3.1% year over year at those institutions. Four-year private nonprofits also saw a substantial decrease of 1.6%. Graduate enrollment at four-year public colleges was mostly flat, falling by 0.3%. 

Enrollment trends played out differently across the U.S. 

The Midwest had the steepest undergraduate declines, with year-over-year enrollment losses reaching 1.2%. The Northeast had a similar decline of 1.1%. The South and West saw small increases, of 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

Enrollment trends varied by region

Year-over-year enrollment by type and region

But these same trends didn’t hold true for graduate programs. The Northeast, which had a notable undergraduate decline, saw the largest growth in graduate student enrollment, of 1.3%. Meanwhile, the Midwest and the West saw the largest declines, with each region clocking a 0.8% decline.