Report: Less Nashville high school graduates enrolled in college during the pandemic

You can ‘adopt’ a senior to help make their last year of high school special amid pandemic
Posted at 6:25 PM, May 04, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — We've known for months that the pandemic has taken its toll on students. Now, a new study by the Nashville Public Education Foundation shows, it's impacting college enrollment too.

"The rate of students who made college-going efforts but didn’t enroll is nearly double what we’ve seen in previous years," said Jennifer Hill, Vice President of Policy and Programming for the Nashville Public Education Foundation.

That means, about 800 Nashville high school graduates started the process of enrolling in higher education in 2020 but never saw it through. "This may be reflective of economic situations of families. That’s certainly a universal story we’ve heard throughout the pandemic," said Hill.

Hill says it looks like the phenomenon could repeat this summer too. "We could see a similar impact for the Class of 2021. These are students who have been learning virtually for more than a year," she said.

Hill says she doesn't know how long the enrollment slowdown could last, but their team does have a few recommendations. "We really need to better integrate college counseling and career counseling in our high schools," she said.

Hill also wants to see more college credit level classes offered at Metro Schools and for local leaders to advocate for policies that lower barriers to applying for college. "That’s a very cumbersome process for students who may be first-generation," said Hill.

Because especially after this pandemic has taken away so much, Jennifer doesn't want this to be another one. "That’s a really significant concern for our community," she said.