Undergraduate enrollment is down, but motivated students are finding a way to advance their education with rigorous courses and exams

No, it’s not “the end of going to college”


Undergraduate enrollment is down, but motivated students are finding a way to advance their education with rigorous courses and exams

According to data from National Student Clearinghouse, undergraduate enrollment declined by nearly 3 percent this spring, following a similar drop last fall. These statistics have inspired dire headlines such as “Higher Ed in Crisis” and even “The End of the University,” but the truth is more nuanced. While college admissions may be down at most universities overall, graduate school enrollments are up significantly. 

It makes sense that, in a time when medical professionals are very much in the limelight, there has been greater demand for healthcare and nursing education. However, even in a time of deep concern about undergraduate enrollments, many providers have also seen increases for SAT and ACT products.

This says to me that, despite the disruptions of the past year, motivated students are still taking an active role in their own education and looking to differentiate themselves. 

Unfortunately, those disruptions on the path to college have had a disproportionate impact on some student populations, especially Black and Latinx students. This is where high schools can and must help. One way they can do that is by broadening access to AP classes and using their American Rescue Act and/or ESSER funding to provide the supplemental materials students need to master concepts and get scores that will earn them college credit. 

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