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Colleges Grappling With Lower Enrollment Post-Pandemic

Colleges Grappling With Lower Enrollment Post-Pandemic

“In the last 50 years, we’ve seen nothing close to the steep decline in enrollments over the last two years”

People in higher education are concerned because at other times of economic turmoil, enrollment has gone up, but that’s not happening now.

CNBC reports:

As college enrollment plunges, schools must adapt to post-pandemic reality

A college degree is still the ticket to better earnings and a more successful career. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to support the traditional idea that college is the path to a better life, but fewer Americans seem to be buying into it these days.

The higher education world is in shock after a second consecutive year of dramatic declines in college and university enrollments this fall. Numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reflecting about three-quarters of the country’s post-secondary institutions show a 3.5% drop in undergraduate enrollments this year and a two-year decline of 7.8% since 2019. The drop-off last year was not unexpected in the early stages of the pandemic, but a second large decline has raised concerns that fewer Americans see the value of post-secondary education.

The drop-off last year was not unexpected amid the early stages of the pandemic, but a cumulative 6.6% drop over two years has raised concerns that fewer Americans see the value of post-secondary education.

“In the last 50 years, we’ve seen nothing close to the steep decline in enrollments over the last two years,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse. “With the population growing and the complexity and demands of the labor market increasing, it’s hard to imagine that we could see such a large decline.”

Normally, post-secondary enrollments run counter-cyclical to the economy. They rise in recessions and uncertain economies as people look to retool and add skills to expand their opportunities. That happened after the 2008 recession when enrollments — particularly at community colleges — surged.

Not this time. The outbreak of Covid-19 drove the unemployment rate to 14.8% virtually overnight early last year as community lockdowns crushed low-wage sectors like hospitality, restaurants and retail trade.

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Comments

Remember the old “Come for the dinner, stay for the show?”
Their problem is “Leave for the COVID, stay gone for the wokeness.”

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to henrybowman. | November 26, 2021 at 11:24 am

    The second part of your comment is a variation on a theme of my thinking. I think a lot of today’s young people are looking at the nonsense courses that they’re being required to take, and deciding that there’s other paths that they can take in their lives.

    I really hope for the day that some major companies, or even minor ones will start offering promising young people apprenticeships. In short, they don’t need a chemistry degree if they can start off with what they learned on their own and then build upon it doing “gofer” tasks in the company laboratories. Find that young kid that likes to twirl a wrench repairing his beat up old Honda or Toyota. Turn him loose on your shop floor doing the basic tasks and let him work his way up.

    Another source of well trained employees, most of whom will have excellent work discipline, or armed forces veterans. The schools the armed forces offer are really good. Yes, the military has a lot of the social justice nonsense, but it doesn’t make them any less decent machinists, draughtsman, or whatever else that they’ve been trained to do.

Glad to hear.