The crisis of stagnant or declining postsecondary enrollment – a concern even before the pandemic – is deepening at WA public two- and four-year colleges and universities. According to data shared with the Washington Roundtable by the state’s public postsecondary institutions:
- Fall 2022 enrollment of resident undergraduate students at Washington’s public four-year colleges and universities is down by nearly 10,000 students (11.3%) compared to pre-pandemic figures (fall 2019).
- Preliminary data also indicate that enrollment across the state’s 34 community and technical colleges is down by could be down upwards of 60,000 students (an estimated decline of 26% or more).
The decline in postsecondary enrollment contrasts with the increasing economic need for credentialed workers in Washington state. From Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022, employers added more than 130,000 jobs in Washington state. That follows a decade of economic growth when a credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—had become essential for jobs that offer a good salary and advancement opportunities.
Read more about the picture of postsecondary enrollment in Washington in fall 2022 in our latest report. Meeting students where they are and improving the postsecondary credential attainment rate is critical to our state’s future.