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DDN: Area colleges see modest enrollment increases, drops

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Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Modest enrollment increases at area colleges and universities and drops at others this fall should be concerning for the region, an education executive says.

Schools like Miami University and University of Dayton are seeing small enrollment increases in their preliminary counts for the fall and others like Wright State and Wittenberg are expecting decreases.

Everyone should be concerned about enrollment at local colleges and universities because more and more jobs are requiring that people have a two-year or four-year degree, Cassie Barlow, president of the Southwestern Ohio Council on Higher Education, told the Dayton Daily News.

“Our economy is much stronger, flexible and resilient with a workforce that has obtained post-secondary credentials,” Barlow said.

Final enrollment numbers have not been released, but the slight uptick in enrollments at some schools could be an early indication students are returning to campuses following hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, many students put off college due to the pandemic. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the percentage of 2020 high school graduates enrolling immediately in college declined nationally by 6.8 percent last school year.

At Wright State, preliminary enrollment count fell by about 6% compared to 2020 preliminary numbers, with 11,469 students currently enrolled in the fall 2021 semester. However, the university says about 400 more students enrolled this fall than was expected. Wright State has seen enrollment fall for the last several years.