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Highlights from Higher Ed: Final Enrollment Numbers, MBA Gender Parity and the Pandemic’s Effects on Students

Final fall numbers confirm plummeting community college enrollment

The final National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report on enrollment during the pandemic revealed that “higher education lost about 400,000 students this fall.” Overall college enrollment declined by 2.5% — double the rate reported in fall 2019. “Freshman enrollment is down 13.1%, about steady with the previous report. Community college enrollment is down 10.1%, up from the 9.5% decline in the last report. Public colleges overall lost 4% of their enrollment, a concerning fact given public institutions enroll seven out of 10 students.” Graduate enrollment was a bright spot, having risen by 3.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

More proof the pandemic is altering students’ college plans

Approximately one-third of recently surveyed students said they are now rethinking their plans to enroll in college due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although 36% of traditional students said they are “less likely than pre-pandemic to pursue higher education,” 54% said having a degree or certificate is “extremely valuable” and 62% said higher education institutions have adapted “extremely or very effectively” to the pandemic. “With a significant number of students considering changing their courses of study, colleges and universities can ease uncertainty by personalizing marketing messages that focus on accessibility… Institutions should provide specific information — for instance, the survey found program-specific information, details on financial aid and content featuring real student stories resonated with students.”

Source: University Business

China and Hong Kong lead the way in MBA program gender parity

Students who want to study for an MBA in “gender equitable” classrooms may want to turn their attention to China and Hong Kong, which are home to MBA programs with the greatest gender parity — at least in terms of enrollment numbers. In those locations, the female-to-male ratio for students entering during 2019 was evenly split at 50/50. Globally, 38% of MBA students identified as women. “Following China with the highest percentage of women enrolling during 2019 are schools in Oceania with 45% of students identifying as female. North America and the Caribbean had 41% identify as female, as did Asia and the Middle East, excluding China, Hong Kong, and India. Speaking of India, that country had the lowest rate of females enter MBA programs in 2019 at just 19%. Europe (excluding the UK) and Latin America had the next lowest rates, each at 33%.”

Source: Poets&Quants

A silver lining? Students who moved back home drank less

College students’ alcohol consumption “decreased significantly if they went from living with peers to living with parents” during the pandemic. The trend is likely explained by the fact that those students may have been living with “watchful parents” and without access to social interactions associated with heavy drinking. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers surveyed students who stayed with peers during the pandemic, those who returned home and those who lived at home the entire time. “The total number of drinks per week for students who moved home went from 13.9 to 8.5. Those continuing to live with peers proceeded to drink essentially the same amount (10.6 drinks per week before compared with 11 per week after closure), whereas those who continued living at home drank almost three drinks per week more (6.7 weekly before versus 9.4 drinks per week after closure).”

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science