Undergraduate Enrollments This Spring See Steepest Drop Since Pandemic Began

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New spring enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show the steepest decline among undergraduates since the pandemic began.

The data, which reflect enrollments through March 25, indicate that undergraduate attendance fell 5.9 percent compared with the same time last year. Overall enrollment this semester is down 4.2 percent from a year ago.

While fewer undergraduates are enrolled in college this spring — particularly at community colleges, which saw an 11.3-percent decline from a year ago — graduate-student enrollment continued to grow. It’s up 4.4 percent from the previous year.

The drop in undergraduate attendance played out among all racial and ethnic groups, with Native American students — a 0.6 percent share of enrollment this spring — declining the most. The 13-percent decrease in Native American undergraduates from a year earlier outpaced the drop of Black, white, and Latino/Latina students, whose attendance fell 8.8 percent, 8.5 percent, and 7.3 percent, respectively, this spring.

The center’s enrollment results are based on 12.6 million students and 76 percent of the nearly 3,600 institutions that report to the clearinghouse.

Here are three takeaways from the data:



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