New Report: How the Pandemic Compounds Education Pipeline Challenges

  • Year Published : 2023
  • Month Published : February

BOULDER, Colo. – The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has released a new analysis, How the Pandemic Compounds Education Pipeline Challenges.

This report is based upon updated data that suggests potentially greater long-term public school enrollment challenges, as well as recommendations for educational leaders and policymakers as they continue to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 on the K-12 pipeline.  Additional state-level public school enrollment and high school graduate data obtained since the 2020 Knocking at the College Door are also available with this release.

Key takeaways:

  • Approximately 833,000 fewer students enrolled in public schools than had been predicted, which was an unexpected 2% decline.
  • The number of high school graduates in the first two graduating classes impacted by the pandemic – the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 – appeared relatively stable, but data about the Class of 2022 is only beginning to emerge.
  • Elementary school student enrollment was close to predicted levels, which anticipated a decline, but public middle schools enrolled fewer students than predicted by pre-pandemic trends.
  • Enrollment trends by public school student population race and ethnicity are examined, as well as non-public school sources of students such as homeschooling and private schools.

Visit to access the full report, data, charts, and more.


Since 1953, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education has been strengthening higher education, workforce development, and behavioral health throughout the region. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. WICHE members include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States. Visit


For media inquiries and photo requests, please contact: