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A Million Fewer People Are Enrolled in College Today Than Two Years Ago

A Million Fewer People Are Enrolled in College Today Than Two Years Ago

“They have doubts about the value and the potential earnings pay off that might come from a degree”

The perfect storm of the pandemic and inflation is like a wrecking ball for higher education. More young people are deciding to work instead of going to school.

KARE News reports:

More high school graduates deciding to skip college; here’s why

Nadia Rakun graduated high school in 2021. She could have gone on to college but decided to work instead. Right now, she has not one, but two jobs.

“I kind of just wanted to do that, it’s where I’m most comfortable, and making good money doing it, and I can save, so I felt like that was my best option,” she said.

Nadia didn’t want an online college experience and with the hot job market she’s kind of set. Know someone like her? You probably do.

The enrollment numbers at Minnesota colleges and universities are down — way down. But it’s not just a Minnesota thing. The number of high school graduates going on to college across the country is dropping dramatically.

“There are now a million fewer students enrolled than there were two years ago before the pandemic,” says Doug Shapiro, executive director of The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Shapiro says it’s the biggest drop in 50 years.

“They have doubts about the value and the potential earnings pay off that might come from a degree, and they are much more wary about the need to go into debt to pay for that degree,” he says.

The cost of college is definitely high on the list of reasons some students are choosing a different path, but it’s not the only reason, and all of it is concerning.


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The Gentle Grizzly | May 21, 2022 at 3:18 pm

Might part of it also be that the youngsters of today don’t want to hear all the CRT and other propaganda as part of their required coursework? I don’t think any of the trade schools are marketing that sort of nonsense.

henrybowman | May 21, 2022 at 3:29 pm

The irony? These kids are smarter than the collegians.

I wanted both mine to go to college. One chose the service, the other had a full academic ride and left after a year because it wasn’t for him. At the time, I was disappointed they would miss out on the American Dream, but they didn’t. Now I have a grandchild, and I am giving serious consideration to successful life plans that don’t involve college, because college is now more of a detriment to honest success than an advantage.

College tuitions have become far higher than what the education should actually cost. The ridiculous increases in tuition over my career have been caused by four major factors:
1. Administrative bloat, mostly for “diversity.”
2. Subsidizing of research, because of increased emphasis.
3. Intercollegiate athletics, because of the myth that it’s self-supporting.
4. Country-club campuses, to keep up with other colleges.

But several factors are starting to hit the schools very hard:
1. Tanking of the stock market due to the Biden administration’s incompetence is causing endowments to lose a large fraction of their value.
2. The economy is stressed, money is tight, and the cost of living is rising due to inflation sparked by Biden’s crippling of the oil and gas industry. Parents who can’t make ends meet can’t pay for bloated tuitions.
3. Alumni have seen their 401K’s tank, and they are donating less.
4. Many alumni (and parents) are fed up with the required courses in political indoctrination. That has caused some of them (like me) to stop donating.

So colleges will be in a tough spot unless they can get more free money from the government, or they reorganize their priorities toward education instead of research, athletics, administrators, and virtue-signaling.

Albigensian | May 21, 2022 at 5:26 pm

Academic “logic”: Fewer students? Need more money!

Can’t we have a guaranteed revenue stream (or at least “free” college, where if we can’t educate some students we can at least entertain them?).

muneshadowe | May 21, 2022 at 7:07 pm

A million less minds to destroy, good!

The humanities lost their value (i.e. making better people) when the core curriculum in Western Civilization was jettisoned. Hard science and engineering still has value, but the price at the high end schools is not worth it.

They are not interested in accepting forced COVID-19 injectable products.

Hallelujah for these smart young adults who are making rational choices for themselves.

An awful lot of students these days have no business being in college: unprepared, entitled, ‘woke.’ It’s a way to escape accountability and feel morally superior to an oppressive society full of racists and exploiters and be thrilled by Marxists peddling fantasies of revenge and revolution. I for one don’t appreciate being forced to pay the bills on all this nonsense