The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced that the number of students attending Texas’ public universities offering four-year courses increased. This is a first since the 1990s.
Further, schools offering two-year courses in community colleges continue to struggle with the sharp enrollment declines. The trend began since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
The Numbers Representing The Struggle
According to Click2Houston, the data showed that community colleges saw a nearly 11 percent drop since the start of the pandemic. This translates to a loss of about 80,000 students. For public universities, it jumped almost two percent during the pandemic. For independent universities, there were no notable changes in the enrollment of students. However, they saw an increase of nearly ten percent in the number of students enrolled in health-related institutions.
In comparison, the two-year college student numbers fell below the four-year schools by around 2,000 students. Nationwide, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board said college enrollment is down by about four percent compared to 2019.
Community Colleges Expected More Students
Community colleges in Texas have promoted themselves as more accessible and affordable options for low-income Texans. When the pandemic began, Higher Education Commissioner Harrison Keller told Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board at a meeting this week that many community colleges expected more students. The expectation is that it’s common to see an increase in enrollees when there is an economic recession and unemployment increases. Students usually search for cheaper alternatives in such cases.
Click2Houston quoted Keller saying, “That didn’t happen. In fact, what did happen is striking: The university enrollment continued to increase. They continued to increase their enrollment.” Leaders in higher education said they do not understand why two-year schools saw the massive declines in the numbers of enrollees in their institutions.
Aside from the change in the trend of enrollees in public universities and community colleges, more male students enrolled than females during the pandemic. Accordingly, male enrollment increased by around 23,000 from 2020 to 2021. There are still more female students, but male student enrollment bounced back faster than female student enrollment.