General education school enrollment at VA schools in the U.S. is down by 20 percent from a year ago, according to the latest data from the Department of Education.
The VA also reported that the number of students in its physical education classes has declined by nearly a third, from 8,400 in 2016 to 4,100 this year.
The number of children attending physical education programs dropped from 9,800 in 2016 and to 4 in 2017, the department said.
The numbers of children enrolled in vocational programs have also dropped by nearly 30 percent.
The decline in enrollment is largely attributed to a “major decline” in enrollment from 2018, the VA said.
While some schools in VA have seen a significant increase in enrollment, most of the overall drop has occurred at the state and local levels, said Jessica S. Cottrell, the deputy secretary for policy and research at the VA.
The average number of enrollees per school has decreased from 6,844 in 2016, to 4.6 in 2017.
The department said that in 2019, the number increased to 8,200.
The majority of the drop is due to students who dropped out or were not enrolled at all, according.
In 2019, there were 9,200 students enrolled in the VA physical education program, up from 5,800.
The most recent enrollment numbers, released Friday, show that about 3,400 of those students left the VA during the summer and fall.
A total of 3,800 of those who left the agency during the fall and spring left VA, and the remainder remained in the program for the rest of the school year.
Those who left during the winter, summer, and fall are now enrolling, the state agency said.
Some students enrolled at VA in the fall were transferred to other VA programs, such as the Veterans Benefits Administration, but that is not reflected in the new numbers, the agency said in a statement.
The total number of school year enrollees is now 6,937, or about 7.7 percent of the total number in the state.
Of those, 2,400 students are still enrolled in VA physical schools, which represent just under 2 percent of total enrollment.
In 2017, a total of 5,200 veterans attended physical education school at the same VA location.
About 1,200 of those veterans were from the state of Texas, and about 1,100 were from Virginia.
The state also reported the number and type of veterans enrolled in physical education schools has increased since the 2017 enrollment numbers.
“It is the third consecutive year that the VA has experienced enrollment growth,” said Julie A. Tompkins, the acting secretary for physical education and rehabilitation, in a written statement.
“VA continues to see enrollment growth, particularly in the areas of physical education, vocational, and technical programs, which are key elements of our national health care system.”
About 17 percent of VA employees are veterans, according the agency.