Posted by: Gregory Linton | 06/10/2019

Spring 2019 postsecondary enrollment numbers are released, and the news isn’t good

At the end of every semester, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center releases postsecondary enrollment statistics drawn from data submitted by 97 percent of Title IV, degree-granting institutions. Here is a list of some of the interesting statistics included in the report released on May 30:

  • Overall postsecondary enrollment decreased 1.7 percent from the previous spring. In real numbers, this is a decline of 300,000 students.
  • Undergraduate enrollment decreased by 2.3 percent, while graduate enrollment increased by 2.0%.
  • Enrollments increased 3.2 percent at four-year private nonprofit institutions, but the increase is attributed to the conversion of Grand Canyon University from a for-profit institution to nonprofit.
  • Enrollment in four-year private nonprofit institutions with less than 3,000 headcount declined by 0.8 percent.
  • Graduate enrollment in four-year private nonprofit institutions increased 5.8 percent, but again this may be due to Grand Canyon University becoming a nonprofit institution.
  • Despite the initiatives of some state governments to increase enrollment in 2-year public institutions (to provide “free college”), their enrollment actually declined 3.4 percent.
  • Women outnumber men in postsecondary enrollment by 2.8 million. Women make up 58 percent of enrollment. For 40 years, women have been the majority of postsecondary enrollment.
  • Male enrollment decreased by 2.8 percent from the previous spring (212,000 fewer men!), while female enrollment decreased by only 0.8 percent.
  • The states with the biggest percentage decline in enrollment were Alaska and Florida, both decreasing by 5.2 percent.
  • Tennessee’s enrollment increased by 1.4 percent. It was one of eleven states than had an increase in enrollment.

The following instructional programs experienced the biggest decreases in enrollment at four-year institutions:

  • Personal and Culinary Services (-16.7%)
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (-7.1%)
  • English Language and Literature/Letters (-4.8%)
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies (-4.7%)
  • Physical Sciences (-4.6%)
  • Theology and Religious Vocations (-4.5%)

The following instructional programs experienced the biggest increases in enrollment at four-year institutions:

  • Science Technologies/Technicians (6.4%)
  • Transportation and Moving Materials (6.2%)
  • Construction Trades (5.7%)
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (5.4%)
  • Architecture and Related Services (4.5%)

Analyses of this report can read at Marketwatch and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


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