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Will SUNY schools make a comeback from the 92,000 students they’ve lost over the last decade?

SUNY schools across the state have been seeing a steep decline in enrollment over the last decade, and the pandemic appears to have exasperated the issue.

The last decade has seen a 20% decrease, and since the Fall 2019 semester there has been a 10% decrease.

That makes for a total loss of about 92,000 students. This fall all SUNY schools combined have around 376,000 students. Most are able to take in person classes.


SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras thinks the pandemic had a hand, but the bigger reason is students have been opting out of getting a higher education for years.

While the rates look bad for SUNY schools, community colleges have it worse with a 34% decrease over the last ten years.

Some schools are doing better than others, while some are doing far worse, bringing the total average down across SUNY schools.

Binghamton University has seen a 26% increase in the last decade, but Buffalo State has seen a 41% drop.

Normally if 4-year colleges see decreases in enrollment, community colleges see an increase, but that’s not how it happened with the pandemic. Numbers fell across the board.


One of the ways Malatras plans to address the issue is to make community colleges more accessible to students.

Monroe Community College has seen almost a 50% decline in the last decade, and this fall only has 9,000 students enrolled.

Accessibility can be expanded with flexible scheduling, online courses, and urban learning programs.

The other plan is to not only view potential college students as high school graduates, but everybody else too.

There are over 2.4 million people in New York over the age of 25 that don’t have a college education and could be potential college students.



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