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The Impact of Coronavirus on Higher Ed Enrollment

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Note from the editor

Colleges were already gearing up for a competitive recruitment and enrollment cycle. Then the coronavirus hit, closing campuses, disrupting admissions testing and making it near impossible for accepted students to visit campuses as they made their final selections.

As that happened, some higher education observers wondered whether changes to recruiting best practices from the National Association for College Admission Counseling would further complicate the process.

All this comes amid a projected demographic drop-off in the number of high school graduates, lagging international student enrollment and general wariness about the cost and value of higher education.

While early data shows that the enrollment picture for fall 2020 may not be as dire as anticipated, pockets of the sector are posting early declines. And factors largely outside of colleges’ control, such as U.S. visa policies, are threatening a critical supply of students.

You can read more about the potential risks to college enrollment in the stories below.

Hallie Busta Senior Editor

Some colleges turned to free tuition ahead of an uncertain fall

The offers came just weeks before students were expected back on campuses for the start of the new academic year.

How can community colleges weather enrollment declines?

Two-year public schools had the steepest losses of any institution type, per preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

How liberal arts colleges are making international students feel welcome

Schools that depend on foreign learners are getting creative as the pandemic foils travel and the Trump administration raises visa barriers.

Will coronavirus fuel big changes to college admissions?

Institutions are being extraordinarily fluid for applicants. Some of that flexibility could continue after the virus passes.

Amid coronavirus, colleges wrestle with a chaotic recruiting environment

A change in industry standards will likely pressure colleges to ramp up enrollment efforts as the pandemic stresses their bottom lines.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Higher Ed Enrollment

Colleges were already gearing up for a competitive recruitment and enrollment cycle. Then the coronavirus hit, closing campuses, disrupting admissions testing and making it near impossible for accepted students to visit campuses as they made their final selections.

included in this trendline
  • The changes facing the college admission process
  • How liberal arts colleges are making international students feel welcome
  • Some colleges who turned to free tuition ahead of an uncertain fall
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.