Undergraduate Enrollments Down 224,000 in Fall 2017
63,000 Fewer Students Entered College Compared to Previous Fall
Overall undergraduate enrollments fell by nearly 224,000 students this fall, according to the Fall 2017 Current Term Enrollment Estimates report from the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™. Enrollments in graduate and professional programs increased by over 24,000, but these gains were outweighed by the decrease in undergraduate enrollments.
The report now provides enrollment counts for students entering college for the first time. These new student enrollments declined compared to Fall 2016 by 63,000, including more than 38,000 fewer students over the age of 24 and nearly 25,000 fewer students in the 18 to 24 age group. Furthermore, enrollments declined in 39 states and increased in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Seven of the 10 states seeing the largest enrollment declines are in the Midwest.
“The decline in total fall enrollments is now in its sixth straight year but, at just 1.0% for 2017, the pace has slowed to its smallest rate since the end of the recession,” stated Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “What’s new is that the decline in numbers of first-year students is accelerating, even among traditional-age students. This suggests further declines to come overall in the years ahead, which will continue to present planning challenges for institutions and policymakers seeking to adapt to new economic and demographic realities.”
Published every May and December, Current Term Enrollment Estimates are based on postecondary institutions actively submitting data to the Clearinghouse. These institutions account for 97 percent of the nation’s Title IV, degree-granting enrollments.
“What’s new is that the decline in numbers of first-year students is accelerating, even among traditional-age students.”
Executive Research Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center