Undergraduate Enrollment at Steepest Decline Since the Pandemic Began

Beginning in mid-March 2020, many colleges across the U.S. shifted to online-only learning almost overnight. Currently, due to the uncertainty caused by a resurgence of the coronavirus and the challenges of responding to quickly evolving logistical concerns, institutional leaders and students alike are faced with difficult decisions that must be made with a lack of reliable, up-to-date information.

Recognizing the urgency of COVID-19’s impact on students and institutions, the Research Center’s Stay Informed series tracks outstanding college enrollment trends in near real-time during the COVID-19 era. It delivers enrollment data dashboards each term, starting with summer 2020. The dashboards are updated regularly using the latest enrollment data available in the coming months and years.

To highlight unique enrollment patterns that are attributable to the pandemic, the two most recent years (2019 and 2020) serve as baselines to investigate COVID-19’s impact on the spring 2021 enrollment (see Methodological Notes for more details).

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