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College Enrollment Declines for Third Straight Year Since Pandemic

Report finds undergraduate count is off about 7 percent since fall 2019

College and university enrollment has declined for the third straight year, according to a new national report, with the undergraduate count now about 7 percent lower than it was in fall 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic rocked higher education.

The report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, released Thursday, found that undergraduate enrollment has dipped 1.1 percent since last fall. That was smaller than the previous annual decline of 3.1 percent, recorded in fall 2021. But analysts said the trends remained worrisome and are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.

“I certainly wouldn’t call this a recovery,” said Doug Shapiro, the research center’s executive director. “We’re seeing smaller declines, but when you’re in a deep hole, the fact that you’re only digging a tiny bit further is not really good news.”

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