Fewer students have enrolled in America’s colleges and universities for the second straight year, which has caused a 6.5% decline in the nation’s total number of undergraduates, CNBC reported.
This fall’s college enrollment fell 3.2%, down slightly from the 3.4% drop last year.
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center compiled college enrollment data in a report that blames the decline on COVID-19.
The report does not mention the other issues that have caused enrollment to decline, including the complete suspension of normal campus life, mandatory masking and quarantine policies, and the proliferation of anti-white Critical Race Theory in classrooms.
The study’s authors and mainstream commentators had expected college enrollment to rebound as COVID-19 receded as a public health concern, but new vaccine requirements and ongoing restrictions makes returning to college more unappealing than the virus itself.
“Enrollments are not getting better; they’re still getting worse,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the NSCRC. “Far from filling the hole of last year’s enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper.”
America’s highest-ranking schools recovered from last year’s losses by posting a 4.3% increase in undergraduate enrollment.
Public universities and community colleges continue to see the most dramatic declines.
“As you go down the selectivity scale, the overall declines start to grow,” Shapiro said. “Community colleges remain the most adversely affected sector, experiencing a 14.1% total enrollment decline since fall 2019.”
In previous recessions, undergraduate students shifted to community colleges, presumably as a cost-saving measure, but this government-imposed shutdown did not follow that trend.
Students enrolled in two-year programs tend to be slightly older and often have more responsibilities outside the classroom. Undergraduates ages 25-29 opted out of college at the rate of 8.2%.
Males, whites, blacks and Native Americans decided not to enroll in college at a higher rate than females, Asians and Latinos.