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Enrollment in Computer and Information Sciences Up Despite Overall Decline

The percent change in enrollment from previous year, by type of institution.

The percent change in enrollment from previous year, by type of institution. Source: "Term Enrollment Estimates Spring 2019" from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services was the top undergraduate major gaining college enrollment at four-year schools, based on the number of added students. That combined major gained 22,865 students during the spring 2019 term, an increase of 5.4 percent from the previous year, according to the latest reporting by the National Student Clearinghouse.

Overall, however, college enrollments continued their decline. A total of 17,542,109 students were enrolled in all sectors, representing a drop of 1.7 percent from the previous spring. NSC data represents about 97 percent of enrollments at U.S. Title IV, degree-granting institutions.

Enrollment decreased among four-year for-profit institutions by 19.7 percent, at two-year public institutions by 3.4 percent and at four-year public institutions by just under a percent (0.9 percent). Four-year private nonprofit schools, on the other hand, saw a gain for the second year in a row, 3.2 percent this year.

While Computer and IS gained the greatest enrollment in four-year institutions, the largest increase by sheer percentage was the major Science Technologies/Technicians, which grew by 6.4 percent over the previous year, followed by Transportation and Materials Moving, which rose by 6.2 percent and Construction Trades, which increased by 5.7 percent.

The most popular majors by total enrollment at four-year schools during spring 2019 were:

  • Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support with 1,553,871 students;
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, with 1,062,991 students; and
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities with 984,090 students.

At two-year institutions, the top gainer of students was Health Professionals and Related Clinical Sciences, which added 84,122 students, for a growth rate of 11 percent. The largest growth rate took place in Architecture and Related services, which rose by 17.8 percent; Personal and Culinary Services, which grew by 17.6 percent; and Psychology, which increased by 17 percent.

The largest state in terms of enrollment was California, with 2,341,696 students, followed by Texas with 1,387,352 students.

The current term enrollment numbers are available in HTML format and PDF format through the NSC website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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