DataPoints: ED data on fall 2022 enrollments


Community college enrollment was up slightly in fall 2022 compared to the previous fall based on enrollment data just released by the U.S. Education Department (ED). An analysis of the IPEDS fall 2022 data by the American Association of Community Colleges shows that public community college enrollment grew by 0.4%, from 6,077,445 to 6,099,285. For comparison, in fall 2019, the pre-pandemic enrollment was 7,123,189. Peak enrollment for community colleges was 7,938,429 in fall 2010.

Other sectors of higher education had decreases in their undergraduate enrollment between fall 2021 and fall 2022, with public four-year colleges declining by -1.3%, independent four-year colleges dipping by -0.8%, and for-profit colleges dropping by -1.2%.

For public community colleges, full-time enrollment was about the same as the prior year (an increase of 0.1%), with part-time enrollment accounting for more of the enrollment bump (up by 0.5%). Female enrollment decreased by -1.1%, while male enrollment increased by 2.5%. 

The biggest enrollment increase was among non-degree-seeking students, with an overall increase of 9.5% (8.2% for female students and 11.1% for male students). These increases in the non-degree-seeking students may be due, in large part, to increases in dual-enrolled students. ED’s National Center for Education Statistics does not currently provide dual enrollment as a separate category; however, the data being collected on the 2023-24 collection cycle will provide enrollments for dual-enrolled students in the 12-month enrollment survey.

Another estimate for dual enrollment is the enrollment of students under the age of 18, who attend part-time. These data are not required to be submitted every year; however, in fall 2022 nearly three-fourths of the colleges did submit these data. Based on this sample of colleges, part-time enrollment of students under age 18 increased by 13% — suggesting dual enrollment did increase significantly in fall 2022.

Students new to postsecondary education (first-time freshmen) also jumped in fall 2022, increasing by 6.3% overall (7.5% for male students and 5.2% for female students), while the number of continuing students dropped by -5.2% overall. Students transferring into community colleges (the smallest of the four enrollment types) was slightly down overall, decreasing by -0.6%.

About the Author

Kent Phillippe
Kent Phillippe is vice president for research and student success at the American Association of Community Colleges.
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