According to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, between the fall of 2020 and fall of 2021, total undergraduate college enrollment in the nation dropped 3.1 percent, with a total decrease of 6.6 percent from 2019. This translates to over a million fewer students overall since 2020. Pennsylvania colleges have continued to experience a downward enrollment trend well above the national average.
According to data from the Pennsylvania State Systems of Higher Education, over the past 10 years, total student enrollment for 4-year colleges and universities combined experienced a 22 percent decline. Other than West Chester University and Slippery Rock University, every 4-year college and university in Pennsylvania experiences a decline of at least 14 percent enrollment in 2020-21.
During the 2019-2020 school year, 95,782 students were enrolled in 14 Pennsylvania’s 4-year colleges and universities. The 2020-2021 school year was a different story, with enrollment sinking down to 93,708 students enrolled.
One positive reason why enrollment at four-year colleges and universities is lower is due to the higher availability of alternative workforce and educational programs for career and professional opportunities. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry provides apprenticeship programs that include services such as on the job training, classroom learning and mentorships. For more information, make sure to visit the state department’s website.