Written by: Reagan Flowers, PhD
The harsh effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education have reached another level of concern. Recent numbers have shown that the decline in U.S. college enrollment doubled in fall 2020 compared to fall 2019. Enrollment was 3.6% lower than in 2019. That’s more than 560,000 students.
As soon as schools started closing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew there would be lasting effects on students. We had no idea how far they would reach, and now, we see that we will need to address learning gaps at almost all levels of education. First, we were concerned about bridging the gap between a mostly unfinished academic year in 2019-2020 with this academic year. Then we saw students becoming disengaged, and some young students not starting school at all.
Now, we are seeing the ultimate test — students that have worked so hard forgoing their chances to pursue the degrees that will launch their careers. As with all the pandemic fallouts I have discussed so far, we see the highest enrollment declines in more impoverished areas. For graduates of high-poverty schools, the college enrollment decline in fall 2020 was more than 36%. Though we expected the pandemic to have quite an impact on college enrollment, this number is just shocking. Read more…