The pandemic will accelerate the decline in higher education enrollment and it is estimated to drop by 25%.

Higher Education Forecasts


Without the pandemic, the predictive model already estimated that the declining trend in first-year (or first-semester) higher education enrollment would continue to drop by 12%.

The increase in unemployment and the decrease in income in Colombian households are the most influential factors in the drop in enrollment.


Bogotá, July 31, 2020 The Economics of Education Laboratory (LEE) of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana estimated the projected enrollment for the second semester of 2020 for both public and private universities in Colombia.


The downward trend in first-year (or first-semester) enrollment has been going on since 2016, and it is expected to continue to drop by 12% in the second half of 2020. However, the pandemic and the crisis it triggered this year will undoubtedly accelerate the trend and it is estimated to drop by 25%.


During the exercise, the LEE team proposed three prediction models for which they used the first-year enrollment values reported in the National Higher Education Information System (SNIES, for the Spanish original) by the Ministry of National Education on a semester-by-semester basis for the years 2000 to 2018 (the latest data available by semesters). In turn, as control variables, we took the unemployment rate reported by DANE as a semester average, the growth rate of the population between 16 and 24 years old, the number of people who take the ICFES Saber 11 test and several seasonal dummy variables.


“It is necessary to invest more resources in ensuring that young people can access higher education studies and thus, avoid a very large loss of human capital that may end up affecting the country’s productivity and economic growth,” says Luz Karime Abadía, Co-Director of the Economics of Education Laboratory at the Universidad Javeriana.


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