New Report: Navigating Learning Loss and Changing Demographics in Education

Pandemic-related impacts on K-12 pipeline may affect Class of 2028 and beyond


BOULDER, Colo. – The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has released new analysis about the effect of pandemic-related K-12 learning loss on projections of high school graduates and suggests ways that postsecondary institutions can respond to support students.

This latest brief is one of several special analyses related to the 10th edition of the Knocking at the College Door report published in 2020. WICHE will release the next edition of Knocking later this year, detailing data and projections through 2040 of high school graduate populations for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and selected U.S. territories and outlying areas, including detail about the race/ethnicity of public school graduates, and the redistribution of students to private school and homeschool settings.

As WICHE has reported several times since the pandemic began, the disruption to student populations was illustrated with the shift of students previously enrolled in public education to other learning environments. Now, four years later, evidence is amassing that other previously stable factors, such as average annual learning patterns and where families enroll their students, have become less predictable for education, as well as workforce pipeline planning. Even if enrollments appear to stabilize after pandemic lows, declines in elementary and secondary school learning and proficiency may present additional future challenges for postsecondary education.

Media Contact:

Melanie Sidwell, Director of Communications
Mobile: 303.834.5278 |



The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. 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. Visit


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