A 5th Straight Semester of Enrollment Declines

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show total enrollment declined 4.1 percent since last spring. Community colleges are once again the sector hit the hardest.

“Enrollment across all sectors of higher education continued to decline this past semester, extending a trend that began during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Total enrollment for spring 2022 fell by 4.1 percent.

The latest numbers mark the fifth semester in a row of declining overall enrollment. The report from spring 2020 counted 17.1 million students across all levels of higher education; that number is now 15.9 million.

The decline is even more marked at the undergraduate level, where NSC data show an enrollment drop of 4.7 percent for spring 2022. By the numbers, that means undergraduate enrollment fell by 662,000 students in spring 2022 and has dipped by around 1.4 million since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, according to the data released today…

…The ongoing enrollment slide indicates that there’s more at play than the lingering impact of the pandemic.

‘It suggests that there is a broader questioning of the value of college and particularly concerns about student debt and paying for college and the potential labor market returns,’ Shapiro said.”


Ya think?

The article goes on to speculate about possible reasons for decline, but let’s get real for a minute. If your teen wants to get into a TOP TIER university, the competition is fierce. Say your teen wants to go to MIT. They received 34,000 applications. Your student has to beat out 32,700 of them to land a spot. That’s true today and it will be true next year, and the year after, and the year after….

Don’t generalize

“It’s hard to get into college” continues to be a pervasive myth that drives parents and homeschooling teens to panic. The truth is that it’s hard to get into a handful of colleges. Everyone else is desperate for your teen’s enrollment and the dollars they bring.

Nearly 4,000

There are nearly 4,000 accredited – legitimate- perfectly good colleges and universities in this country. They won’t all have the prestige of MIT, but if you’re pursuing a credential that’s NOT from a college like MIT, then it’s time to get real. There is “top 10” and then there is everyone else. There’s ZERO reason to pay the kind of price tag a college like MIT charges when you’re not getting the brand name and the muscle it brings. If your teen CAN get into MIT, that’s fantastic- we applaud you! The rest of us need a different strategy that isn’t distracted by dream schools. We want a strategy that doesn’t come with a 15-year loan repayment ball and chain.

Buyer’s Market

More than any other time in history, it’s a buyer’s market. Your teen’s enrollment is in demand. Use that!! Shop around and choose a college that works with you/your teen to use each and every credit they’ve worked so hard to earn in high school. If a college is difficult to work with or wants to squeeze every last penny out of your family by restricting the credit they earned, keep shopping. I’m continuously inspired when parents send me an email about how wonderful it was to work with ABC College or XYZ University. “happy to have us” or “went above and beyond” or other positive testimony. Whether you’re pushing for max credit transfer or asking for bigger scholarships (or both) this is the time to do it! FULL SPEED AHEAD!

Author:

Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit