Colleges See Massive Declines In Enrollment

Education has always been an important matter, but in the US, one of the trends that I have identified at for the future is a major decline in enrollment in educational institutions, followed by a likely significant decrease in prices for education followed by a restructuring of the “college experience” itself to one that is more online and with smaller campuses and less focus on non-essentials as they pertain to academics.

Part of this trend is coming true right now, as BloombergQuint reports that college enrollments for new students are down significantly.

U.S. colleges are seeing sharp declines in enrollment of new students this semester in another sign of the economic toll that Covid-19 is having on higher education.

The number of first-year undergraduate students enrolled fell 16%, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center said in a report Thursday. Total undergraduate enrollment slid 4% from last year at this time, led by international students.

Empty seats are inflicting financial damage on colleges already reeling from the pandemic. Earlier this year, when the virus began spreading, many schools cleared their campuses of students and refunded housing costs. With enrollment waning, revenue from tuition, dormitories and dining halls is being hurt at a time when some institutions are posting low endowment returns.

“The colleges are losing billions of dollars,” said Jack Maguire, founder of the enrollment-consulting firm Maguire Associates and former dean of admissions at Boston College. “It may not be the end of it if this new wave hits and students are sent home again.”

The drop in international undergraduates is among the deepest, at 13.7%. In July, the Trump administration introduced a federal rule that would have required foreign students at U.S. universities to take at least one in-person class or risk deportation if schools switched to online only. While the guidelines were quickly rescinded, international students still struggle with travel restrictions and visa issues.

Undergraduate enrollment is down at all types of institutions except private for-profit colleges, according to Research Center data collected in the semester through Sept. 24.

First-year undergraduate student enrollment fell 13.7% at public four-year colleges and 11.8% at their private nonprofit counterparts. It slid 22.7% at community colleges. (source)

It will be a trend to watch for the future if amid the burgeoning economic crisis, financinal problems with the public, enrollments will drop and the above series of events, in some form come to pass.

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