The number of first-year college students enrolled in school dropped 16%, according to a new report released Thursday.
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center noted that enrollment isn’t just down among first-year students, but total enrollment overall has dropped. The report states that the number of enrolled students slipped 4% from this time last year. The largest decline in enrollment was international students.
At public four-year schools, freshman enrollment was down 13.7%. It was down slightly less, 11.8%, at private nonprofit schools. Community colleges saw the steepest drop of 22.7%.
But enrollment in graduate programs jumped up by 2.7%. Private for-profit colleges are not experiencing a drop in undergraduate enrollment, according to the data collected through Sept. 24.
The study accounts for 9.2 million students surveyed from over half of the more than 3,600 institutions that report back to the research center.
Colleges already have faced financial setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Many schools refunded housing costs when the outbreak shut down campuses. Now, they are receiving less money in tuition.
”The colleges are losing billions of dollars,” Jack Maguire, founder of the enrollment-consulting firm Maguire Associates and former dean of admissions at Boston College, told Bloomberg. ”It may not be the end of it if this new wave hits and students are sent home again.”