SUNY enrollment fell 20% over the past decade. What the chancellor might do to change it

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on enrollment at SUNY colleges and universities, adding to an ongoing decline of students at the 64-campus system.

Enrollment fell 20% over the past decade, a staggering loss of 92,000 students, and dropped 10% alone since fall 2019 as COVID shuttered most in-person classes in March 2020 only to resume in earnest this fall.

Overall, the system has about 376,000 students this fall, with almost all taking classes in person due to strict COVID protocols on campuses. “There was a pandemic issue there, of course, but I think the real issue we’re grappling with is the long-term trend of declining enrollment in higher education,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras told the USA TODAY Network New York.

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