College Enrollment Continues Steady Decline Amid Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has not been good for enrollment in institutions of higher education. College enrollment continues to drop here in Texas and across the country.

The downward trend for spring semester enrollment looks just like it did in the fall. Nationally, undergraduate enrollment was down 4.5% year over year, according to data by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. A lack of in-person learning amid the pandemic and rising tuition has led many to question the value of a 4-year degree.

“Employers are seeing, evermore, that a college degree unfortunately certifies too little in terms of thinking ability, writing ability, leadership ability, etc. They’re now looking at other criteria, and especially with COVID, they can be pickier,” Marty Nemko, an education consumer advocate, said.

Nemko adds other issues like suppression of free speech and grade inflation has led to parents and students looking for alternatives.

“Many, many people have lost their job or had their hours cut back. They’re worrying about paying the rent,” Nemko explained. “So, they are saying ‘is it really worth three hundred thousand dollars to have my kid have minimal growth in critical thinking or writing?’, and very often they get a one-sided view of the world.”


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