I've been wondering how COVID-19 will affect enrollment in US universities. Typically, in economic recessions, which will seem to accompany COVID-19, university and college enrollment tends to go up. Fewer people working generally means more time for going to school. Will this pattern apply to the current situation, at least within the US?

  • People sign up for college much more for socialization with and access to a certain demographic than for learning. I'm expecting enrollment to tank. But I'm not sure if questions like this are on-topic here; there will be no way to tell if an answer is right until 2022 or so. Mar 18, 2020 at 22:21
  • The underlying assumption in this question is that US universities will be open, that's not a given.
    – Erwan
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


Negative press coverage about universities will reduce enrollment. Disruptions to high schools will reduce traditional-age enrollment. People who are laid off from jobs will be more likely to enroll.

The main action we can take is to communicate to prospective students that we encourage them to enroll as soon as practical. Students may believe education is not available to them. Informing them will reduce the severity of enrollment declines.

  • Interesting response! What is your reasoning for negative press coverage about universities. Why encourage prospective students to enroll as soon as practical?
    – drsnark
    Mar 18, 2020 at 22:20
  • 2
    @drsnark I don't think it's necessary to recap the negative headlines. Mar 18, 2020 at 22:22
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    If you mean the criticism about universities being bastions of liberal indoctrination, then that makes sense.
    – drsnark
    Mar 18, 2020 at 22:26
  • @drsnark No, what media have you been viewing? Mar 18, 2020 at 22:51

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