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Highlights from Higher Ed: Enrollment Projections, 529 Plans and Transfers

Report predicts graduate and undergrad enrollment will increase over the next decade

A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that undergraduate college enrollment will rise 2% between 2018 and 2029 to 17 million students. Graduate enrollment is expected to climb 3% during the same period to 3.1 million students. However, the report does not address how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect those projections. In the past decade, enrollment trends have varied by institution type. “From 2000 to 2018, undergraduate enrollment at public institutions rose 24% to 13 million students, though it has decreased slightly since 2010, the report notes. That’s compared to a 27% increase in undergraduate enrollment at private nonprofits and 83% growth at for-profits from 2000 and 2018. However, for-profit enrollment dropped by 57% since 2010, while private nonprofit enrollment has increased slightly.” Researchers also estimated that 10 states experienced year-over-year enrollment declines of at least 3% this spring.

To discover what admissions leaders across the country have learned from navigating this global crisis and how they’re preparing for the future, read 5 Key Lessons from the 2020 Pandemic: Overcoming Future Enrollment Management Global Crises.

Source: Education Dive

Stock market losses hit 529 plans

Stock market turmoil caused by the pandemic has caused millions of 529 college savings accounts to lose value, raising the possibility that Americans once confident of being able to pay for college now face new uncertainty. Plummeting equity prices may be hitting the families of young children particularly hard. Those families often “put their tax-favored 529 savings in preset investment portfolios that change as their child gets closer to college age, starting with investments heavily weighted in stocks to take advantage of potentially greater returns.” During the first quarter of 2020, “losses averaged as much as 19% for portfolios focused on children age 4 and under, while those for students 17 and 18, who will probably be heading to college this year and next, fell less than 5 percent, on average.”

Source: The New York Times

One in three students say online classes in fall could lead them to transfer

A recent survey of 12,000 students revealed that 32% of them are “likely to transfer” if their school only offers online classes during the upcoming fall semester. More than half (56%) described online-only classes as “unappealing.” And nearly four out of five students “feel that tuition including room and board should not be the same if they’re taking online or hybrid classes.” According to another recent study, “just 15% of students thought that, before Covid-19, college was a bad deal. Now 27% do.” That study also noted that “even with perceived value in decline, a full 81% of non-graduating students say they plan to return to their institutions for the fall.”

Source: Forbes

Pandemic causes delayed employment start dates for 2020 MBA grads

Although 70% of 2020 MBA graduates have accepted an offer of full-time employment, close to half of them (44%) report that their start dates have been pushed back as a result of COVID-19. “For those with delayed start dates, the most common timeframe is a delay of one to three months, which was reported by 47.8% of respondents. The next highest percentage (17.9%) reported having their start dates delayed three to six months. Some 16.4% said their delayed start date was still ‘to be determined.’ Another 13.4% say their start date has been delayed by one month or less. And about 4.5% say they’ll be starting more than six months later than their originally planned start date.”

Source: Poets & Quants