An analysis by Bridge Michigan shows that enrollment of first-time students is down at 12 of the state’s 13 public universities that have made their numbers public. The numbers are as bad for community colleges.
This unfortunate situation has continued to progress, with community colleges being hit the hardest.
Nationwide, the number of 2020 high school graduates who enrolled in college in the fall of 2020 dropped 22 percent from the previous year, driven primarily by a decline in low-income and urban student enrollment.
As Bridge Michigan reported, first-time enrollment at the state’s four-year public universities dropped more than 7 percent between 2019 and 2020, and first-time enrollment at the state’s community colleges slumped between 8 and 10 percent.
Ferris State University saw an 18 percent drop in first-time enrollment in fall 2020; Oakland University and Northern Michigan University dropped 15 percent.
College officials had hoped the decline was a one-year, COVID-related blip, and that students who had put off coming to campus during a school year hobbled by online learning and social distancing would return this fall.
But early indications are that enrollment among low-income students may be continuing to decline from last year’s sobering figures. Applications for the Lansing Promise, which provides financial aid to Lansing students, are down 15 percent. A similar program in rural Mason County in West Michigan has seen a 10-percent drop in applications. Both programs serve largely low-income populations, and applications to attend community college and some universities at free or reduced rates is a good indication of fall enrollment trends.
According to the associated press, private and U.S. State Department-sponsored flights out of Kabul have been ongoing since the Taliban took over in August and the U.S. left the county after two decades of occupation. Of the approximately 73,000 Afghan refugees who made it out in the initial August evacuation, many still are finding places to stay in the U.S., officials said.
The decreasing enrollments especially in low income areas shows that the education of our young adults is being increasingly negatively affected by both covid and the new policy changes of this administration.