Chico State continues downward trend in enrollment, fall 2021 data shows


Kimberly Morales

The Science Building on Oct. 22.

Chico State’s enrollment has continued to decrease annually since the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the university’s interactive data dashboard.

The official count of students enrolled at Chico State for the fall semester hit 15,421 students — a slight decline from last year, when 16,630 students were enrolled in the 2020-2021 fall term.

The data continues to highlight a decline in Chico State’s enrollment since the 2018 spring semester.

The decline in enrollment did not surprise Jerry Ross, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, who said that Chico State enrollment hit a level that the university was already anticipating.

Ross said the drop in enrollment is mostly attributed to a dip in enrollment on the front end, when fewer freshmen enroll at Chico State,. 

For the 2021-2022 academic year, 30,239 applications were submitted to Chico State; 22,620 applications were admitted and 4,065 were enrolled, according to Chico State’s enrollment dashboard.

Following the pattern of decreased enrollment, academic departments such as the College of Agriculture, College of Business, College of Communication and Education and the College of Natural Sciences have seen a decrease in enrollment for the fall semester. Departments such as the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts saw slight increases in their percentages of total majors enrolled at Chico State but a decline in the total aggregate number of majors.

“This is a problem that Chico State recognizes,” Ross said. “We’re trying to improve our enrollment while also closing our current equity gaps.”

System-wide, California State Universities have reported an overall increase in enrollment, totaling 485,550 students across 23 campuses for the 2020 academic year, versus the previous year that sat at 481,929.

This article has been updated to note that total majors in all colleges declined during this period. A graph that provided total enrollment percentages was also removed because it lacked the correct context.

Kimberly Morales can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @kimberlymnews.