Skip to content

The Shrinking of Higher Ed

A special report on the implications of the enrollment contraction.

Illustration showing a tiny college diploma

Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That enrollment contraction comes at a precarious moment for the sector. Inflation is driving up costs and straining budgets, stock-market volatility is putting downward pressure on endowment returns, and federal stimulus funds are running out. Why is the enrollment crunch happening now? How are colleges responding? What might turn things around? Those are the questions fueling this special report.

A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 2, 2022 issue.