Majority of New England Public Colleges and Universities Saw Fall 2018 Enrollment Drops

By Wendy A. Lindsay

Including at Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break campuses …

The majority of New England public colleges and universities saw annual decreases in their Fall 2018 headcount enrollment, with a few exceptions.

The  following institutions reported increases: University of Connecticut, University of Maine System, University of Massachusetts System, Community College System of New Hampshire and University of Vermont.

Annual % Change in Enrollments at New England Public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Fall 2018

College or SystemAnnual % ChangeCollege or SystemAnnual % Change
Connecticut Community Colleges -3.0%Community College System of New Hampshire+3.4%
Connecticut State Universities -0.9%University System of New Hampshire-0.9%
University of Connecticut +0.2%Community College of Rhode Island-1.5%
Maine Community Colleges-2.0%Rhode Island College-4.9%
University of Maine System+2.5%University of Rhode Island-1.7%
Massachusetts Community Colleges-4.5%Vermont State Colleges-1.6%
Massachusetts State Universities-2.2%University of Vermont+0.4%
University of Massachusetts system+0.7%

Source: NEBHE collection of preliminary headcount enrollments and/or annual enrollment changes from institutions’ Common Data Sets or institutional research offices, system offices and/or higher education departments.

Please note clarification: Headcounts and enrollments can get complicated. The table originally reported a decrease of 5.8% at the Maine community colleges. It turns out that decrease was for degree-seeking enrollment only. In fact, total headcount enrollments at Maine community colleges decreased by only 2.1%.

New England public and independent colleges and universities meanwhile saw an overall one-year decrease in enrollment of 0.9%, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Dec. 2018 report, Current Term Enrollment Estimates, Fall 2018.

New England colleges and universities are facing growing enrollment challenges as the number of high school graduates in New England decreases significantly and is predicted by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to continue declining. The number of New England high school graduates reached its peak in 2009-10 and is expected to decline by 14% between 2017 and 2032.

Enrollment in RSP Tuition Break Also Saw Decreases in Fall 2018 …

Click on chart for a larger view.

Enrollment overall decreased for the second year in a row after a modest increase two years ago.

However, New Hampshire public colleges and universities bucked the trend this fall and saw nearly a 9% increase in overall RSP enrollment.
Four-year RSP undergraduate enrollment at New Hampshire public HEIs saw nearly a 25% increase this fall.

Click on image to view report.

NEBHE’s RSP Tuition Break provided an estimated $54 million in tuition savings this academic year to 8,159 participating students (averaging $7,900 savings to a full-time student), according to the recently published 2018-19 Annual Report of the New England Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break.

In addition to providing significant tuition savings to New England students and families, the RSP Tuition Break helps New England’s public higher education institutions attract and retain students. The region’s public colleges and universities received an estimated $98 million in tuition revenue from RSP-eligible students in the 2018-19 academic year.

The annual report provides data on RSP enrollment by state, institution and program, as well as RSP tuition savings and revenue by state. NEBHE calculated annual data based on a fall 2018 survey of the participating institutions. Academic year 2018-19 is the 61st year of RSP enrollment.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>