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College enrollment continues to decline in Oklahoma

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, Okla.

Enrollment at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities tumbled by almost 5 percent in spring 2022 compared to spring 2021, according to a report released last week by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

That means year-over-year, 7,600 fewer people are going to college in Oklahoma. There were 159,095 students enrolled in college in spring 2021 and 151,493 enrolled in spring 2022.

Public four year colleges bore the brunt of the drop, losing more than 8 percent of student enrollment, while private four years actually grew.

This reflects a trend Oklahoma has experienced for several years amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma is hardly alone. Enrollment is dropping across the country. The report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found “Total postsecondary enrollment fell to 16.2 million this spring, marking a one-year decline of 4.1 percent or 685,000 students.”

The organization’s data show more students are enrolling in college for the first time, but not enough to make up for losses experienced over the course of the pandemic.

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
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