As the fall 2022 USF census became available last week, more details emerged on USF’s demographics and student retention.
Demographics, in regards to ethnic and racial identification, have mostly stayed steady, with two notable exceptions. There has been a decrease in students identifying as Pacific Islanders, which has dropped from 0.7% in 2018 to 0.4% in 2022, and an increase of Black identifying students on campus, jumping from 5.4% in 2018 to 7.1% in 2022. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 5.7% of San Francisco’s population is Black or African American, revealing that USF is becoming more diverse than the city that houses it.
Total enrollment at USF has been trending downward since 2019, with a 3.5% decrease between fall 2021 and fall 2022, despite this year’s incoming undergraduate class being the largest in the past five years. This may be due to the fact that retention rates dropped for “first-time, first-year” fall 2021 entering students and fall 2021 new transfer students; from 86.3% to 80.9%, and 82.1% to 79.8% respectively. This means that many students who started their first year at USF in 2021, whether new altogether or new transfers, did not continue nor return for their second year in 2022. Graduation rates also fell slightly; the four-year graduation rate dipping from 63.6% to 62.3%, and the six-year graduation rate dropping from 75.6% to 74.4%.
These statistics are part of a national collegiate trend, one in which college enrollment is steadily dropping following the COVID-19 pandemic. A May 2022 article from the New York Times reported that nationwide undergraduate enrollment has dropped by nearly 1.4 million, a 9.4% national total decrease since the onset of COVID-19.
Savannah Dewberry is the Foghorn’s chief copy editor and a fourth-year media studies major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org