California leads the nation with the largest drop in spring 2021 college enrollment numbers largely due to a steep decline in community college students, who have particularly struggled with pandemic hardships, according to a report released Thursday.
The state’s overall community college and university headcount dropped by about 123,000 students — the largest numeric decrease of any state. The percentage decline was5.3%The numeric downturn reflects California’s stature as the most populous state, but does not account for the entirety of the loss, researchers said.
College enrollment across the nation dropped by3.5% — or about 603,000 students — from spring 2020 to spring 2021, marking the biggest decline on record with the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which has tracked higher education enrollment and degree data since 2011. The calculation takes into account a decline of undergraduates and an increase in graduate students, the report by the organization says.
“California is doing worse than the national averages by 1 or 2 percentage points in terms of the declines this spring compared with last,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the organization.
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