Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Decision Sciences

Program or Major

Business Administration with a Concentration in Information Systems and Business Analytics

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Burcu Eke Rubini


This paper looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected college enrollment at colleges and universities within New England, how this effect compares to the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and then predict future trends in total enrollment by first identifying the major factors of change in college enrollment during the Great Recession and COVID-19 pandemic. These factors include the perceived value of getting a degree by traditional and nontraditional students, where colleges and universities generate their revenue, and where and how students are enrolling in higher education, and the cost and value of online learning. Based on these factors, questions about the effect of the current pandemic on total college enrollment in New England and how different colleges and universities will fare based off their classification as either a 4- year public university, 4-year private university, or community college are raised as well as a hypothesis that more students will attend community college while less students will attend traditional 4-year public and private universities, leading to a net zero effect on total enrollment is predicted. This hypothesis is tested using enrollment data from 73 colleges and universities in New England on 2 linear regression models and an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model. From this analysis, the models find that college enrollment stays the same at 4- year public and private universities as well as community colleges, meaning the hypothesis is unsupported. It is determined that more models must be tested as well as student data must be collected to better predict total college enrollment.