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College Enrollment Unevenly Declines In The U.S.; Broadway Eager, Awaits The Day When The Lights Go Back On; Historic Snowstorm Strikes The American West. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired March 17, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. We`re more than a year now into the COVID pandemic`s impact on the United States and the

ripple effects continue to spread into many facets of American life. For instance, college enrollment.

Today`s show starts with a look at how overall, it continues to decrease. Last fall there was a 3.3 percent drop in the number of students enrolling

in higher education as compared with fall 2019 and this spring preliminary data suggests there`s going to be a 2.9 percent decrease from spring 2020.

This is all according to the National Student Clearing House. An organization that keeps track of higher education enrollment in the United

States. One thing to note here is that graduate enrollment. This is among students who already have a four-year degree and our studying for something

more advanced.

That has reportedly increased by 4.3 percent this spring as compared with last but there are fewer graduate students than there are undergraduate

students. So the drop in undergrads dragged overall enrollment. A researcher with the National Student Clearing House says this is

undoubtedly an effect of the pandemic and an executive director with the organization says it`s too early to tell if the decrease will continue into

this fall.

One specific reason for all this could be the lack of the full college experience. Traditional schools that switch to virtual learning for the

pandemic risks losing interest among students who want in person instruction and unrestricted campus life.

Schools that focused on online learning before the pandemic hit, actually saw their numbers grow last fall. But community colleges have been hit

hardest by the enrollment decline and researchers say that suggests the pandemic`s economic effects are a major reason for the decrease.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re very aware of what high school students are going through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For aspiring college students, the application process like so much else this past year has been challenging.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really felt it. Things that they thought they were just going to have on their resume or, you know, positions that they

thought they were going to able to have or even their class -- their grades. The devastation of not being able to finish what they thought they

were going to be able to present to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of the usual steps like working with high school counselors, visiting campuses and in person interviews were made nearly

impossible by pandemic related restrictions. In an effort to make things easier, many colleges have made standardized testing like the SATs

optional. The result, a double-digit surge in students applying to some selective colleges like NYU. What is this experience been like for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you see the number crest 100,000, I think I -- I stomach did just feel a little -- a little flip and say wow and now I`ve

entered a whole new world. And I thought, oh dear lord, how are we going to get through all of this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harvard University reported a 42 percent increase in applications. The University of Virginia saw an almost 17 percent increase

and Colgate University received more than double the applications this year than it did last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re trying to put their best foot forward in a way that they think might have a school given a chance when they wouldn`t have

in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These eye-popping numbers are the exception though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our enrollment was down about 10 percent in the fall and it`s down about 18 percent in the spring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts where 40 percent of those attending our first generation college students.

Officials did everything they could to get students enrolled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We extended registration deadlines. We forgave as much debt as we could afford to do for students. We allowed student longer time

to pay off any expenses they had from previous semesters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fewer students also means less tuition, straining budgets that were already under pressure before the pandemic, which

disproportionately affected low-income students and students of color.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of our students, they are struggling economically. They`ve been out of work for some time and many of them are just struggling

to put food on the table.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these famous stories is the oldest? My Fair Lady, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago or Mary Poppins. Phantom of the

Opera first appeared as the serial publication in 1910. The play and musical came later.

How much later? The Phantom of the Opera musical made its debut on Broadway in 1988 but that famous street in New York City has been hosting plays for

live audiences since the 1700s`. And while it`s been shut down several times in the past, Broadway hasn`t gone dark for a year since the

Revolutionary War.

Even during the much deadlier Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919, Broadway stayed open. There are more than 40 theaters along the "Great

White Way" as it became known for the electric white marquise lights above theater entrances.

There are many other off-Broadway theaters that have fewer seats but are still popular. An estimated 97,000 jobs were lost when Broadway closed last

year and it`s not known yet when the lights will go on again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they closed the theaters in March of last year, no one really expected it would be shut for so long. But now as the

anniversary passes and with no date in sight for reopening, Broadway and all the theaters around 42nd Street, this is a time that stood still. Phil

Birsh, the CEO of Playbill says it`s created a lost generation of talent on Broadway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no one working in these theaters except the maintenance people maintaining them and keeping them ready to reopen. But

Broadway is in complete ice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And -- and how are they surviving?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some are not. I think that there`s probably a whole schloss (ph) of people who are now leaving New York. They`re back in their

parents` basements and patiently waiting for Broadway to reopen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pandemic tamped out a Broadway that was booming. Ticket sales had never been higher. Now these theaters are figuring out how

to reopen safely. Economically, can you open these theaters and can you have productions with 30 percent capacity?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not possible. Broadway is a very low margin business on many levels. It is very expensive, very labor intense of very

talented people who have be paid well. Broadway will open at 100 percent or it probably will not be able to open at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sun will come out tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Annie sings, the sun will come out tomorrow and Phillip Birsh says you can bet your bottom dollar the theaters in New York will

thrive once again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Broadway is the heart of New York City and when Broadway reopens, it will send a national and international signal to the world that

the pandemic has been beaten.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A historic snowstorm pummeled the Rockies from Wyoming to Colorado snarling traffic on the interstates. In fact, closing parts of

25, 70 and 76 in and out of the Denver metro region. Denver International Airport recorded 27.1 inches of snow.

That is their fourth largest snowstorm ever recorded. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, they had over 36 inches of snow. That is a record two-day snowfall total

for them. The snow was so intense over the course of the weekend that COVID vaccination sites and clinics were cancelled.

Blizzard conditions gripped the state, made travel impossible for local residents here. You can imagine the avalanche threat is considerable. That

will continue for the days to come as the snow pack continues to settle. It will be days before we completely dig out of this massive historic

snowstorm. A beautiful sight but definitely hidden dangers within all of this natural wonder.


AZUZ: For our last story today, there`s newly opened hotel in China that says whether you`re eating, playing or sleeping, polar bears will keep you

company. This is said to be the world`s first polar bear hotel. Rooms range in price from $300 to $350 per night and the hotel promises visitors will

be able to see the animals around the clock from its 21 guest rooms.

Animal rights activists oppose this venue saying polar bears don`t belong in zoos or hotels. A spokeswoman for the hotel says the indoor enclosure is

only part of the animal`s habitat and that their allowed to roam outside when the temperature and air quality allow.

The hotel says it`s fully booked through its trial period. Some might check out at the idea of sleeping near a polar bear. Bed and breakfast sounds

more appetizing when you`re not the breakfast. But others will be quick to "ursign" their names on the register. They`ll want to stay in "gotel" they

got into the "hotel" and their friends` reactions are sure to be "polarizing".

I`m Carl Azuz with some "ursome" majorly bad puns on CNN 10. Want to give a shout out to Grace Webb High School and our viewers in Hartford,

Connecticut. Our You Tube channel is the place to go to request a mention on our show.