Highlights from Higher Ed: Declining Enrollment, Race on Campus, “Conscious” Course Scheduling,” and Jobs for Graduates 

Liaison International
Nov 3, 2022

Fall 2022 enrollment declined in almost every category 

The number of “traditional age” freshmen enrolled in community colleges during the fall 2022 semester increased by 0.9% on an annual basis, but higher-ed institutions across the country reported a decline in nearly every other category of student. Overall, undergraduate enrollment dropped 1.1% and is now 4.2% lower than in 2020. “Undergraduate enrollment declined across all demographic characteristics, except traditional-age students (0.5% for 18- to 20-year-olds) and Latinx students (1.2%).” Enrollment at four-year public colleges and community colleges dropped by 1.6% and 0.4%, respectively. Private nonprofit four-year institutions enrolled 0.9% fewer students. The number of graduate students fell by 1%, reversing a pandemic-era trend of growth. “Graduate enrollment is still above pre-pandemic levels, with a total two-year change of 1.6% from fall 2020.” 

Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center 

Most Americans Support Efforts to Increase Campus Diversity — but Oppose Race-Based Admissions 

Nearly equal numbers of Americans think programs to boost racial diversity on college campuses are a good idea and that colleges shouldn’t consider race in their admissions policies. When asked whether they “would support or oppose the Supreme Court banning colleges and universities from considering a student’s race and ethnicity when making decisions about student admissions,” 63% of U.S. adults said they would support it. Black respondents were the only group in which a majority (53%) said they would oppose. When asked whether they think “programs designed to increase the racial diversity of students on college campuses are a good thing or a bad thing,” 64% of all respondents said those programs are good. “There is also broad opposition to a custom known as ‘legacy’ admissions, in which many colleges or universities give a preference to applicants whose parents went to the same school. Three-quarters of Americans overall call that inappropriate.” 

Source: Washington Post 

Students Opt for Fewer Credit Hours and Pick Courses Selectively 

A survey of nearly 700 higher-ed leaders revealed that students signed up for about 15% fewer credit hours in the fall of 2021 than just two years earlier. During the same period, the enrollment of full-time students at four-year public universities fell from almost 67% to 64%. The growing number of non-traditional students — including young parents, those taking care of sick or elderly family members, and those who are working — may help explain the trend. It may also explain why students seem more likely to engage in “conscious course scheduling,” i.e., picking courses with schedules that meet their personal needs. “It’s particularly important to create a schedule with minimal conflict with students’ lives to successfully serve the growing number of post-traditional learners who appreciate and prefer the ability to plan in advance,” researchers noted. “Smart schedules are a critical investment that represent a course of action that could determine a student’s earning potential for years to come.” 

Source: Diverse Education 

Class of 2023 expected to enter the robust job market 

Despite recession fears, half of the nearly 250 employers surveyed recently by the National Association of Colleges and Employers said they expect to hire more new college graduates this year than they hired last year; overall, they plan to hire 15% more. “Employers in the finance, insurance, real estate, computer, and electronic-manufacturing industries stood out as especially hungry to hire new grads…Those in sectors like technology, retail, and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing indicated they were planning less college hiring, though those declines didn’t fully offset the wider projected growth.” Only 6% said they plan to hire fewer newly minted college graduates. “The hiring outlook reflects the unusual challenge many companies face—a tight labor market paired with slowing growth, high inflation, and growing worries of a recession. Many employers say large worker shortages that began during the pandemic remain a struggle, making them reluctant to cut head count or forgo a chance to acquire new staff.” 

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.