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Enrollment of Black Students, Male Undergrads Fell Sharply in Summer ’20


Enrollment of male undergraduate students and Black undergraduate students saw the sharpest decline during the pandemic-hit summer of 2020, as per the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) report released on Tuesday.

The two categories saw a decline of 5.2 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. In total, the enrollment of undergraduate students declined 0.9 percent compared to this period last year.

Enrollment of graduate students, on the other hand, saw a rise of 3.8 percent, and enrollment grew in all types of graduate programs — certificate, master’s, and doctoral. Black graduates enrolment increased 3 percent, but overall the community saw a decline of 6.1 percent compared to a 2.3 percent overall decline of white students’ enrollment.

“The equity implications for higher education in the fall are becoming more clear,” said NSCRC’s Executive Director Doug Shapiro in a press release. “Many of those most affected by the pandemic also appear to be losing access to college classes, even at community colleges and rural institutions that have traditionally served them.”

A total of nearly seven million students enrolled in summer sessions at 2,300 colleges, a 0.2 percent increase compared to last summer, the data says.

Summer 2020 Enrollment Trends

As far as enrollment in the type of institutions is concerned, private for-profit undergraduate colleges were particularly hard-hit as they witnessed a decline of 7 percent. Community colleges saw enrollment losses of nearly 6 percent.

In those colleges, male undergraduate enrollments dropped nearly 14 percent, compared to a decline of less than 1 percent for women.

Private non-profit and public colleges, on the other hand, saw 4 and 2.8 percent growth in enrollment.

Among the positives, Asian graduates and undergraduates saw an increase of 9.6 percent and 8.2 percent in enrollment compared to last year. Hispanic graduates, meanwhile, enrolled 12.7 percent higher as compared to the last year. Hispanic undergraduate enrollment grew a paltry 2 percent though.

Female’s enrollment saw a growth of 1.7 percent in graduate courses and 4.2 percent in the undergraduate courses.

Primarily online institutions (POI) saw a total decline of 3.7 percent in undergraduate courses, both male and female, while they saw a growth of 5.8 percent in total enrollment in graduate courses.

The decline in POIs, apparently surprising due to the pandemic, can be understood as part of the larger trend of a continuous decline of undergraduate students enrollment in US colleges for the last eight years.

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