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Spring College Enrollment Drops 2.3 Percent

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Releases First-Ever National Spring Current Term Enrollment Estimates

HERNDON, VA, MAY 16, 2013 – As millions of college students prepare to graduate, today the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center released a report that reveals that the nation is still shedding college students and at a faster rate. The latest estimates show 2.3 percent fewer students (19,105,651) enrolled in college this spring compared to spring 2012 (19,550,391). This continues the trend observed in the Research Center’s fall 2012 report, which found that fall 2012 enrollment (20,195,924) declined 1.8 percent compared to fall 2011 (20,556,272). The finding is consistent with the improving labor market: as the economy recovers, more students are returning to the workforce. The Research Center’s Spring 2013 Current Term Enrollment Estimates, sponsored by the Pearson Foundation, is the first time that national estimates for spring enrollment have been made available to the education community.

Other noteworthy findings from the Spring 2013 Current Term Enrollment Estimates Report:

  • The largest enrollment decreases were among four-year for-profit institutions (-8.7 percent) and two-year public institutions (-3.6 percent).
  • The Midwest experienced the greatest decrease in overall enrollment compared to spring 2012 (-2.6 percent). There was very little decrease in the Northeast (-0.9 percent) compared with other regions.
  • Overall, the number of adult learners (students over age 24) decreased at more than twice the rate of traditional age students (-3.6 percent compared to -1.4 percent).
  • Overall, the rate of decrease was larger for women than for men (-2.7 percent compared to -1.7 percent), but women still accounted for over 57 percent of spring 2013 enrollments.
  • While spring enrollments are typically lower than fall enrollments, the overall difference between the two has been growing, with the spring 2013 total being 5.4 percent lower than fall 2012.

“This is the first time that spring enrollments have been available nationally. With increasingly mobile and nontraditional students, it’s important for the education community to have access to real-time information about enrollment patterns,” stated Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “These data will help researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to identify the effects on students and institutions of powerful forces, like demographics, the economy, state budgets, student debt levels, and tuition costs.”

The report includes spring 2013 enrollment data provided by 95 percent of all Title IV, degree-granting enrollments in the nation. These institutions report student‐level data to the Clearinghouse several times throughout the term, allowing it to provide immediate metrics to educators and policymakers on the current term.

“We are pleased to support the work of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center,” stated Mark Nieker, president and CEO, Pearson Foundation. “It gives institutional policymakers access to information that will make a difference in their decision-making. This is an important information tool for the education community.”

About the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes.

To learn more, visit http://research.studentclearinghouse.org.


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Current Term Enrollment Estimates - Spring 2018