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The number of students enrolling in college immediately after high school plunged nearly 22% this fall over last year, hitting high-poverty, urban schools hardest — a likely reflection of the coronavirus-related toll on higher education plans, according to a national survey released Thursday.

The survey by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that the drop-off varied substantially by institution, with community colleges showing the largest enrollment decline among low-income students and public four-year universities the lowest.

In California, that pattern appears to hold, although not as dramatically. The report did not break out state data, but California’s higher education systems have tracked similar information.

The California Community Colleges system expects an average decline across 116 campuses of 5% to 7%, but enrollment at the nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District is down by about 10% this fall compared with last year — roughly 270,000 students compared with 300,000 last year.

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