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College Enrollment by U.S. Undergrads Drops 4.5% for Spring Term

  • Declines seen among students in all racial, ethnic categories
  • An educator wonders, ‘Will they come back this fall?’

U.S. colleges saw drops in undergraduate enrollment for this year’s spring semester as the emergence of Covid-19 vaccines failed to bring more students back to campus, deepening the pandemic-related financial strains faced by schools.

Enrollment fell 4.5% from with a year ago, according to data released Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The largest declines included 16% for international students, 9.5% at community colleges and 5.3% for students of the traditional age of 18 to 24. Fewer undergrads attended in all racial and ethnic categories.