New Enrollment is Growing, But Where?

March 21, 2024

In a welcome change, Gray DI’s analysis of the National Student Clearinghouse’s Fall 2023 data revealed a four percent increase year-over-year in new college enrollment. This national picture paints a cautiously optimistic outlook for colleges and universities. Where is the growth?

National Trends

The US’s fastest-growing programs represent diverse student interests and span all award levels. Half of the new enrollments are in health-related programs. Osteopathy is a doctoral program, Mental Health Counseling is a master’s, and Radiologic Tech is at the associate level. Exercise Physiology is typically a bachelor’s, and Allied Health runs the gamut of award levels, from certificate to doctoral. Rounding out the list are three programs in tech, one in liberal arts, and one in management.

Fastest-Growing New Enrollment - US, Fall 2023 YoY

Source: PES Program Enrollment Dashboard

Minimum new enrollment Fall 2022: 5,000

Let’s compare which programs are growing nationwide to those in Louisiana and Washington.


In Fall 2023, Louisiana’s overall new enrollment dropped four percent year-over-year. However, there was growth in key areas.

Louisiana’s fastest-growing programs are entirely different from the national trend. Two programs in education led the pack: Early Childhood Education, which requires a minimum bachelor’s degree, and Curriculum and Instruction, which is typically a master’s-level program. Chemistry and English represent the liberal arts, and two programs require a certificate: Child Care Provider and Electrician. The list is rounded out with IT, Finance, and Health Services/Allied Health.

Fastest-Growing New Enrollment: Louisiana Fall 2023 YoY

Source: PES Program Enrollment Dashboard

Minimum 200 in Fall 2022

Excludes Liberal Arts and CIP codes ending in “99” (Other)


In contrast to Louisiana’s overall decline in new enrollment growth, new enrollment in Washington rose 12 percent year-over-year, the highest growth of all US states.

Washington’s fastest-growing program enrollment didn’t overlap with Louisiana, although Cyber Security and Business Analytics were on the US list. However, like Louisiana, two WA programs are in education. There are three trades and one liberal arts program. Washington had a higher occurrence of tech programs than Louisiana, which was in line with the US in Cybersecurity and Business Analytics.

Fastest-Growing New Enrollment: All Award Levels, Washington, Fall 2023 YoY

Source: PES Program Enrollment Dashboard

Minimum 200 in Fall 2022

Excludes Liberal Arts and CIP codes ending in “99” (Other)

Common Trends

State-level data is only a starting point for understanding student demand and trends. It’s important to define markets for your institution and pull the data for your specific markets. Additionally, new enrollment data is only one of several metrics to consider; others include completions, international demand, your competitors, marketing costs, wages, job postings, and more – data Gray DI can provide in a few minutes for over 1,500 programs in your local market.

Monica Bilson

Senior Project Manager

Monica produces webinars and conference presentations, contributes to blogs, and manages internal projects for senior leadership. She is the designer and manager of Gray DI's course with Bay Path University, Academic Program Evaluation and Management.

About Gray DI

Gray DI provides data, software and facilitated processes that power higher-education decisions. Our data and AI insights inform program choices, optimize finances, and fuel growth in a challenging market – one data-informed decision at a time.

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