As Native freshman enrollment falls sharply, tribal colleges respond

By: | November 20, 2020

Nationwide, there are 13% fewer freshmen enrolled in college this fall than last, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The steepest declines have occurred at community colleges among students of color. At public, four-year colleges, freshman enrollment among Native American students is down 22%; at community colleges, it’s fallen by almost 30%.

Some of these students have lost jobs, or have family members who have, and can no longer afford college. Others are uncomfortable with online education or lack the technology to access it.

This fall’s drop in freshman enrollment is likely to have long-term consequences for students, colleges, and the economy at large. Students who postpone enrollment are far less likely to graduate from college than those who enroll immediately after high school. And without a degree, they’re more likely to get stuck in low- and middle-wage jobs.

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