College enrollment rates still have not recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Student Clearinghouse data published Thursday.

While fall undergraduate enrollment rates stabilized in 2022 after tallying about 0.6% fewer students than 2021 levels, there are still 1.1 million fewer students enrolled than was recorded in 2019, according to data released Thursday. Adam Kissel, visiting fellow on higher education reform at the Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that that there are multiple factors that could contribute to this downward trend including population decline, pandemic-era mandates and deemphasized importance on college degrees.

“College enrollment is facing multiple pressures,” Kissel said.

Like many institutions across the world, colleges and universities responded to the pandemic by shuttering their doors and sending students home during the spring 2020 semester. As they began to re-open, students were expected to comply with mandates demanding they wear face masks, be fully vaccinated and social distance or quarantine to mitigate spread of the virus.

Some schools, including Yale, Fordham and Harvard University, still update their vaccine mandates to reflect the latest booster. Other schools, like Rhode Island College, require students to wear masks in certain on-campus settings.

The University of Massachusetts Boston mandated masks for the beginning of the spring 2023 semester, but revised the policy to be “optional” on Jan. 18…. (Excerpt from The Virginia Star and The Daily Caller)


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