How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Black Enrollments in Higher Education

A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center finds that in the first three months of the 2021 spring semester undergraduate enrollments are in their steepest declines so far since the pandemic began. Community college enrollments fell by double digits for the first time in this pandemic. Graduate enrollments, on the other hand, continue to grow.

The report found that Black undergraduate enrollments are down 8.8 percent from the spring 2020 semester. Whites, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans all had enrollment declines, but not as steep as was the case for Black Americans.

In graduate programs, all racial and ethnic groups saw an increase in enrollments from spring 2020 to spring 2021. Black enrollments are up 10.4 percent. This is more than double the increase for Whites. Hispanic Americans have shown a 14.2 percent increase in enrollments in graduate programs.

For all racial and ethnic groups, there is a significant difference in enrollment declines by gender. These declines are the most pronounced among African Americans. In the spring 2021 semester, African American women enrollments are down by 6.9 percent. For Black men, the decline is more than double that of African American women.


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