Community college enrollment grew compared to last Spring
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According to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, community college enrollment grew 0.5% — or 22,000 students — in spring 2023 when compared to 2022. The reason for this is the growing number of younger students who are mainly dual-enrolled high school students and freshmen.
After large declines in the previous couple of years, mainly because of the pandemic, since last fall enrollment has begun to level off, and overall, undergraduate enrollment remained stable for the spring term (-0.2% or -25,000 students).
Continuing the trend from fall 2022, the Research Center found that younger students are driving community college enrollment growth, specifically an 8% increase in dual-enrolled high school students (+49,000 students under age 18) and a 1.1% increase in 18- to 24-year-old enrollment (+24,000).
Compared to Spring 2022, freshman enrollment grew 9.2%, building on a similar increase reported last year. However, the Research Center highlights the importance of noticing that percentage increases in spring freshmen are based on a far smaller scale than in fall.
Besides community colleges, total postsecondary enrollment remains well below pre-pandemic levels, down about 1.09 million students overall and about 1.16 million undergraduates alone, compared to spring 2020.
Among other findings, the report also stated that undergraduate enrollment at public and private nonprofit four-year institutions are still declining, but at slower rates (-0.5% and -0.2%, respectively).
A gender gap with female enrollment declining by 1.2% (-118,000 students), while male enrollment grew slightly (+0.4% or +25,000 students) was perceived.
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