COLORADO SPRINGS — A study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center revealed that undergraduate enrollment declined this year compared to last year and has slowed to numbers not seen since pre-pandemic rates.
Fall 2022 data shows that colleges and universities lost about 1.1% of undergraduates leading to a total two-year decline of 4.2% since 2020.
Pikes Peak State College (PPSC) felt the hit of declining enrollment at the height of the pandemic.
"We had a pretty big dip in enrollment and we lost about 17%, almost 18% of our enrollment over the course of 2 years," said Lance Bolton, President of PPSC.
Private for-profit four-year universities saw the steepest drops followed by public four-year schools. Although, Freshman enrollment has stabilized at community colleges for the first time since the start of the pandemic and Latinx students also saw an increase in enrollment, undergraduate enrollment declined across all other demographics.
"You really have to balance the cost of college with what field you're going into," said Rex Karjian, a Freshman at Colorado College.
This chart shows how drastically enrollment at Pikes Peak State College dropped off from 2019 to 2020 right when the pandemic hit.
While nationwide enrollment is down 1.1%, it's small compared to a 3.1% percent decrease last year.
One freshman at Colorado College shared he thinks part of it is people discovering different career paths during the pandemic that might not require a college degree.
"A college degree isn't as necessary, but I also think that probably for a lot of places it is necessary,' says Karjian.
Pueblo Community College says they saw a dip in enrollment in both 2020 and 2021 but this year numbers are back up.
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