Colleges could lose up to 20 percent of students, analysis says

May 1, 2020 by

Projection comes from the latest survey of college students and would-be college students and does not consider community colleges or foreign students. Figures are particularly bleak for minority students.

By Scott Jaschik –

Four-year colleges may face a loss of up to 20 percent in fall enrollment, SimpsonScarborough, a higher education research and marketing company, has predicted on the basis of multiple student surveys it has conducted.

The findings are based on surveys of more than 2,000 college-bound high school seniors and current college students in March, just after the coronavirus began spreading in the United States, and in April, after three weeks of record unemployment claims.

The finding are based on several surveys, one of which was released previously.

  • Ten percent of college-bound seniors who had planned to enroll at a four-year college before the COVID-19 outbreak have already made alternative plans.
  • Fourteen percent of college students said they were unlikely to return to their current college or university in the fall, or it was “too soon to tell.” Exactly three weeks later, in mid-April, that figure had gone up to 26 percent.
  • Gap years may be gaining in popularity. While hard to track, there are estimates that 3 percent of freshmen take a gap year. Since the pandemic, internet searches for gap years have skyrocketed.
  • College students do not like the online education they have been receiving. To finish their degrees, 85 percent want to go back to campus, but 15 percent want to finish online.

The numbers are particularly bleak for minority students.

Source: Colleges could lose up to 20 percent of students, analysis says

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