Discrepancy in Reported US Higher Ed Fall Enrollment Declines

7 replies
  1. Sasha Thackaberry
    Sasha Thackaberry says:

    Hi Phil – Great analysis. I wonder too if there is a correlation between student status (i.e. those attending PT may take classes at multiple institutions). Other confounding factors in “real data” versus reported would be transfer students and how they are counted (or not counted).

    • Owynn
      Owynn says:

      I want to second part of Sasha’s take. The times at which students transfer between institutions are likely messing with real counts. I also know the special admit definitions across sectors desperately needs to be aligned more for cleaning up unduplicated counts and FTF numbers for IPEDS. As we see a rise in dual enrollment, the metric of FTF and headcounts is only going to drift further.

    • Phil Hill
      Phil Hill says:

      These are good points, including the one about rising dual enrollments (multiple HE institutions). What is surprising to me is the size of the trend. In rough numbers, do we have roughly 800k more dual enrollments in 2019 than in 2012? That would explain the discrepancy for the most part. FYI – I have been in contact with NSC and am asking them for comment or help with this data interpretation.

      • Owynn
        Owynn says:

        We may have that large an increase from 2012 to 2019 in DE students. EdSource is doing ongoing reporting on that for California Schools. If you take a look at the three big systems, UC, CSU, CCs in CA I feel like it’s a rolling trend and now exploding trend with the enrollment crisis HE is facing.

  2. Jack Suess
    Jack Suess says:

    I’m curious whether dual enrollment between high school and college (especially community colleges) is also making counting more difficult. How are k-12 students enrolled in higher education through dual enrollment counted? Are they counted in both the higher ed numbers and the K-12 numbers or only in k-12?

    I see this trend continuing to increase and wondered if there is some data on this you have seen.

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