Well before the pandemic, higher education institutions were confronted with a challenge with numerous causes — a disruption in student enrollment. The shrinking high school graduate population, lack of academically prepared prospects, and increased skepticism about the value of a college education had created a formidable dilemma. Now, COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue. In 2020, undergraduate enrollment declined 4.4 percent nationally and first-year enrollment fell 13 percent.
At the same time, the increase in online learning, cross-registration, and hybrid institutions means that institutions have more competition for the same pool of students. In fact, the number of students taking online