this story about Declining college enrollment rate Produced by hechinger reportis a non-profit independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
Even as freshmen arrive nervously on campus for the fall semester, policymakers see a “worrisome” decline in the number of high school graduates willing to invest the time and money needed to go to college. I’m working on what they say there is.
A little-understood backlash against higher education is causing an unprecedented decline in enrollment. Experts now warn that the decline, especially where it is most severe, is likely to reduce people’s quality of life and the country’s economic competitiveness.
said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University’s Miller College of Business.
Four million fewer students are now attending college than a decade ago, and many experts blame Covid-19 for the decline. A decline in the number of Americans under the age of 18 and a strong labor market that is drawing young people directly into the workforce.
But while the pandemic certainly made things worse, the recession had taken hold before it even started. Demographics alone cannot explain the magnitude of this decline. And statistics refute the argument that recent high school graduates are getting jobs instead of going to college.
Focus groups and polls point to another reason for the steep downward trend that is not easily resolved. These include widespread and rapid skepticism about the value of a degree, impatience over how long it takes to earn a degree, and costs that ultimately exceed many people’s ability or willingness to pay.
The percentage of high school graduates entering college in the fall after school has dropped significantly and steadily across the country, from 70% in 2016 to 63% in 2020. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, it is available.
Not all states have data for the same time period, but some states are even worse.
For example, in Tennessee, 53% of high school graduates go straight to college, down 11 percentage points from 2017. In Indiana he’s down to 53% in 2020, down 12 points from five years ago. And Chris Rowley, the state’s director of higher education, said he was “sounding alarm bells.”
In West Virginia, 46% of 2021 high school graduates will attend college next fall, 10 percentage points below the state’s 2010 high of 56%. Percentage points from 2016.
In Arizona, 46% of 2020 high school graduates will attend college the following fall, down from over 55% in 2017. In Alabama, her 2020 college-going rate among recent high school graduates dropped to her 54%, down 11 percentage points. In Idaho, college enrollment plummeted to her 39%, down 11 percentage points from 2017.
Americans are increasingly skeptical about the need to go to college. She now has three adults who say a degree is worth it, according to a survey by the Strada Education Network, a nonprofit that studies and financially supports ways to expand access to higher education. to her less than one.
“That conversation came up more often, ‘Is it worth it? “More and more parents are saying, ‘No.’ You’re not going to do that. You’re not going to a four-year college.
Her students’ parents “just aren’t valuing education the way they used to,” said Amanda DeBord, an adviser to Advis TN, Tennessee’s statewide program. “I feel like I’ve been depressed for the last few years.”
Advice for the University of Tennessee TN student Ever Valladares said the parents of a classmate who lived in La Vergne, a suburb of Nashville, told her she had to go to college. But that has changed. “They don’t think so anymore.”
This is exacerbated by growing dissatisfaction among recent university and college graduates about the value of their education.
More than four in 10 bachelor’s degree holders under the age of 45 disagree that the benefits of an education outweigh the costs, according to a Federal Reserve study. In another survey conducted by Cengage, an educational publishing and technology company, only a quarter said they would follow the same educational path if they could do it all over again.
According to a study by the Indiana Higher Education Commission, this passes on many bad reviews to younger siblings and classmates, and family and friends are the most trusted sources of information about whether to go to college.
Meanwhile, months-long debate over whether the Biden administration will forgive some or all of its student loan debt has left future learners aware of how much they previously had to borrow to pay for college. It had the unintended consequence of being a reminder.
There’s also the fact that many parents are still paying off their student loans.
“There is a perception that it is anti-elitist, anti-institutional, and that the costs are out of control.”
Stephanie Marken Gallup
From 2015 to 2019, Americans’ trust in higher education declined more than their trust in any other educational institution as measured by the Gallup pollster. Considering this list includes the president, Congress, big business, and the criminal justice system, it’s an incredible drop in trust. .
Stephanie Marken, partner in Gallup’s education division, said:
This problem has been evident for years, but in general, universities have done little to address it.
They continue to advertise the price most consumers will actually pay, but many consumers are discouraged from applying. This is particularly confusing for the growing number of applicants whose parents have never been to college. They also often fail to make clear links between academic disciplines and careers, or keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing labor market.
In fact, a degree still pays off. According to the BLS, a worker with a bachelor’s degree earns 67% more than a worker with only a high school diploma. Georgetown University’s Center for Education and Workforce estimates that more than half of “good jobs” earning at least $35,000 for workers under age 45 and $45,000 or more for workers ages 45 to 64 have a bachelor’s degree. number must have been obtained.
However, since the start of the pandemic, the percentage of 14- to 18-year-olds who believe they need education beyond high school has fallen from 60% to 45%.
Even high school graduates planning to go to college admit to having doubts.
“My whole life has been sports, but I’ve also been wondering, ‘Is college really for me?'” said Dillon Phillips. Dillon Phillips played basketball at La Bagne High School and hopes to turn pro, but he plans to start in college. Give him time to prepare for four-year college.
The pandemic has only deepened the fears of students who are already struggling with self-confidence and are skeptical of college. Some say it’s too much. ’” Her colleague Portia Cook was more outspoken. When things start to get complicated, that’s it. ”
It’s not just recent high school graduates who are turning their backs on higher education. The number of Americans over the age of 24 who are going to or returning to college for the first time is also steadily declining, and in the five years since the spring of 2017 through the just-finished spring semester, he has dropped to 12. % decreased.
In an attempt to find out why so many people stopped going to college, some states conducted focus groups and surveys to find out that the complexities of getting a higher education were part of the reluctance to go through with it. I made it clear that it was my fault.
In Indiana, 70% of residents said they were “overwhelmed” when trying to understand the state’s financial assistance options. In Tennessee, many high school students said they didn’t think they were eligible for state financial aid, but they probably were.
“They especially don’t want to be told that their lives aren’t good enough — ‘Tell me what I need to do to make my life better.'”
Charlie Beeser Indiana Higher Education Commission
Other findings from the Indiana Higher Education Commission study include: College.
“They especially don’t want to be told that their lives aren’t good enough—”Tell me what I need to do to make my life better.
A widening disparity in college enrollment could widen the rifts that already polarize American society, Hicks said.
“Places like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago will continue to attract more college graduates,” he said. “Where the proportion of college graduates is low, economic conditions will be more unstable and wages will be lower.”
Since 2000, the United States has already fallen from 2nd to 16th among developed countries in terms of the proportion of 25-34 year olds with a bachelor’s degree. No other country saw an average 177% increase in bachelor’s degree completion during this period, according to an analysis by the University of Pennsylvania research institute.
Even before the pandemic, the center-right American Action Forum said the country would face a shortage of more than 9 million college-educated workers over the next decade, with almost every state estimated to have affected nearly $1.2 trillion in lost economic output.
economic rivals are [American] College-going adults drop 12 percent,” Hicks said. “It’s literally cataclysmic.”