Enrollment at community colleges is beginning to grow this spring, with a 2.1 percent increase over last spring, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Stay Informed with the Latest Enrollment Information, the first-look spring 2023 enrollment report found that the trend is due to an accelerated increase in dual enrollees and spring freshmen. Freshmen increased across all institution types, with most attending a community college (58.8 percent).
“It’s encouraging to see this second straight year of growth in spring freshmen and dual-enrolled high school students,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “However, community colleges still face significant declines in adult learners, who have been opting out of college in larger numbers since the start of the pandemic.”
Undergraduate enrollment remained steady this spring (+0.2 percent) following two straight years of steep pandemic-related losses. Only the public four-year sector continued to experience undergraduate enrollment declines (-0.9 percent). Total enrollment, including undergraduates and graduates, has remained unchanged since last spring.
Key enrollment highlights include:
Certificate program enrollment increased at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, continuing pre-pandemic trends. Associate degree-seeking students increased slightly (+0.3 percent) while bachelor’s seeking students continued to slide (-0.6 percent).
“Students continued to opt for shorter-term programs,” Shapiro said. “We saw larger increases for certificates,” he added, noting that associate degree-seeking students increased less than 1 percent and bachelor’s degree-seeking students dropped 0.6 percent.
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