College enrollment has declined in NJ — a blip, or a new trend?

The number of students attending college in New Jersey is down significantly compared to fall 2019, right before the coronavirus pandemic moved in.

Many colleges and universities in the Garden State experienced a dip in student-body sizes in both 2020 and 2021, but they don’t expect this to be the start of a long-term trend.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, suggests the share of high-school grads who attend college will remain fairly constant. And New Jersey’s numbers may see a boost from generous financial aid programs that offer up to 4 years tuition-free for students of a certain income.

“The financial barrier’s not there anymore,” Van Horn said., April 14, 2022