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College enrollment continues to decline in Oklahoma

Nyk Daniels

Enrollment at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities tumbledby 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 experiencedfor 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.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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