Enrollments Are Up in Higher Education With Black Increases Outpacing Those of Whites

A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center finds that undergraduate enrollment grew by 176,000 students. or 1.2 percent, in fall 2023. This was the first increase since the pandemic.

Among the three largest sectors, growth was highest at community colleges, which gained 118,000 students, or 2.6 percent, after steep declines during the pandemic. Public and private nonprofit 4-year institutions both saw smaller increases of 0.6 percent. Over two-thirds of states saw undergraduate enrollment growth this past fall.

Hispanics and Asians showed the largest increases in enrollments. For African Americans, more than 1.6 million students were enrolled as undergraduates, up 0.7 percent from the previous year. White enrollments were down by 2 percent from fall of 2022.

At four-year public universities, both Blacks and Whites showed small declines in enrollments this past fall. At private, not-for-profit four-year institutions Black enrollments were up 1.8 percent. For Whites, enrollments were down 1.8 percent.

At community colleges, Blacks enrollments were up 2.1 compared to a 2 percent decrease for Whites. At for-profit educational institutions, Black enrollments were up 10 percent compared to a 1.7 percent increase for Whites.

In the fall of 2023, there were slightly more than 309,000 Blacks enrolled in graduate school. This was an increase of 2.6 percent. Whites saw a 1.9 percent drop in graduate school enrollments.

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