Florida leads nation in declining undergraduate enrollment

Spring 2019 enrollment down more than 350,000

By Jane King

More than 350,000 fewer students enrolled in undergraduate programs in the U.S. for the 2019 spring semester than the previous year, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The Sunshine State saw the biggest decrease in enrollment, including all sectors of postsecondary education and both graduate and undergraduate programs. The 5.2% decrease from spring 2018 equaled to almost 50,000 students.

Florida was followed by California, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania with the largest declines in the number of enrolled students.

Compared to the spring 2018 semester, 351,264 fewer people enrolled in undergraduate programs for the spring 2019 semester, representative of a 2.3% drop.  On the flip-side, graduate and professional programs had a 2% increase, equivalent to 54,043 students.

Four-year, for-profit institutions took the biggest hit, with 17.6% fewer people enrolling in their undergraduate programs. Almost 100,000 fewer people enrolled in bachelor's seeking programs alone.

Overall, four-year public institutions saw a 1.4% decrease in undergraduate enrollment and two-year public institutions had a 3.4% decrease.

The only institutions to have an average increase in undergraduate enrollment in spring 2019 were four-year private nonprofit institutions. National Student Clearinghouse attributed this increase to the conversion of a large for-profit institution to nonprofit status.

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