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Pandemic Hammers College Enrollment This Fall, Report Says

A snapshot of fall enrollment shows fewer students are pursuing undergraduate degrees this semester as the coronavirus continues to sow fears of infection and devastate the economy.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on Thursday released its first look at fall enrollment through Sept. 10, confirming what many in higher education already suspected: that the public health crisis would lower head counts at the nation’s colleges and universities.

Though only 629 schools are captured in the data, the report is a closely watched indicator of sector-wide trends. Enrollment among undergraduates is down 2.5 percent this year across all types of institutions, while the head count of graduate students is up 3.9 percent. That places overall enrollment in higher education down 1.8 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Clearinghouse.

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