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Many Students Who Finished High School During the Pandemic Are Skipping College

Many Students Who Finished High School During the Pandemic Are Skipping College

“What first looked like a pandemic blip has turned into a crisis. Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022”

A new trend in education is taking shape. In post-pandemic America, more students are opting to skip college and enter the workforce instead.

Who can blame these students for wanting to earn money rather than go into debt, especially at a time when so many schools are still making COVID-related demands?

The Associated Press reports:

Jaded with Education, More Americans are Skipping College

When he looked to the future, Grayson Hart always saw a college degree. He was a good student at a good high school. He wanted to be an actor, or maybe a teacher. Growing up, he believed college was the only route to a good job, stability and a happy life.

The pandemic changed his mind.

A year after high school, Hart is directing a youth theater program in Jackson, Tennessee. He got into every college he applied to but turned them all down. Cost was a big factor, but a year of remote learning also gave him the time and confidence to forge his own path…

Hart is among hundreds of thousands of young people who came of age during the pandemic but didn’t go to college. Many have turned to hourly jobs or careers that don’t require a degree, while others have been deterred by high tuition and the prospect of student debt.

What first looked like a pandemic blip has turned into a crisis. Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists say the impact could be dire.

At worst, it could signal a new generation with little faith in the value of a college degree. At minimum, it appears those who passed on college during the pandemic are opting out for good. Predictions that they would enroll after a year or two haven’t borne out.

The Associated Press seems almost panicked about this. Why? When did it become a rule that absolutely everyone has to go to college?

FOX News has more on this:

‘Crisis’ of ‘COVID-era’ high school grads ‘jaded,’ skipping college after remote learning: report

A rising number of high school students are giving up on college as “the only route to a good job, stability and a happy life,” according to a new report.

“Why do I want to put in all the money to get a piece of paper that really isn’t going to help with what I’m doing right now?” Grayson Hart, a high school graduate who works in Jackson, Tennessee, reportedly told AP News.

“Hart is among hundreds of thousands of young people who came of age during the pandemic but didn’t go to college,” the outlet explained, calling the trend a “crisis.”…

One poll, conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse, revealed that undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8 percent from 2019 to 2022.

This means fewer Americans saddled with massive college debt down the line, doesn’t it?

Isn’t that a good thing?


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nordic prince | March 11, 2023 at 6:15 pm

Why is it a “crisis”?

Only the grifters in higher ed would jump to that conclusion.

    healthguyfsu in reply to nordic prince. | March 11, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Crisis is probably the wrong word. However, we do need people that can solve complex quantitative and analytical problems such as engineers (quantitative) and doctors (analytical).

    I can tell you that many of the ones coming through now are probably the ones that SHOULD have skipped college or at least taken some time off to become a stronger and more mature person. I’d estimate that 50% of the students I saw knew they weren’t ready for college and said as much in Q&A yet did nothing to adapt (or simply not come until they are ready).

      Subotai Bahadur in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 11, 2023 at 7:59 pm

      If you are competent at solving those complex qualitative and analytical problems, you know that you will be accused of somehow oppressing someone who can’t by your very existence. So why bother?

      Subotai Bahadur

        CommoChief in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 12, 2023 at 11:14 am

        Indeed. Until Academia demonstrates an actual, concrete commitment to diversity of opinion and ends their embrace of the diversity olympics, the oppressor v oppressed world view and jettison the tribalism many young people will continue to stay away.

        The internet has revolutionized learning opportunities. A laptop and good bandwidth provides plenty of opportunities to learn outside the University, its opulent experience and avoid the financial burden and the emotional toll of keeping your mouth shut as young karens scream their leftist rhetoric.

    Bucky Barkingham in reply to nordic prince. | March 12, 2023 at 8:22 am

    To the Left it is a crisis because by skipping college these young people also skip the next level of political/social indoctrination. They may actually learn to think for themselves and to act on their own conclusions.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 11, 2023 at 6:33 pm

Could it be that – at least the white males – realize a degree, even in STEM, is a waste of time thanks to DIE, and H1Bs? None of them need apply.

The wise ones know that Apu Patel needs someone to keep the Range Rover going; Hilda Hyphenated-Name needs a plumber; Shaniqua Washington needs an electrician;; and Chi Nee Spi needs an extra room built, to his design.

    paracelsus in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | March 11, 2023 at 6:56 pm

    @ the Griz
    and Rosalita Diaz will pay him in fentanyl-laced benjamins to repair her roof.

    healthguyfsu in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | March 11, 2023 at 7:16 pm

    And yet we all need doctors and engineers and are much better off with them. I do not disagree with you that DIE rot is hurting that cause, but we, as a society, will all suffer if there is a shortage of qualified people benefiting from real education rather than wokenosis.

      paracelsus in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 11, 2023 at 7:40 pm

      Just how much do we need doctors (and dentists) and engineers who are pushed/rushed through the system due to their name/gender/color/religion only because of a requirement to fill a government-mandated quota enabling the school/program to continue to receive funding.
      Please! Pretty please! There are some excellent people who’ve worked hard and excelled within our system – and then there are others (dentists I personally know) who, after passing all the exams (somehow), still couldn’t tell you the difference between their a$$ and their elbow (or an incisor and a molar).
      “and are much better off with(out) them.”

        healthguyfsu in reply to paracelsus. | March 12, 2023 at 11:11 am

        You’re missing my point by thinking yours is a counterpoint.

        We will all suffer without those real doctors and the fake ones coming through will make it worse because they will take up space and be unqualified to do the jobs they are hired for.

          CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 12, 2023 at 11:20 am

          We obviously need highly skilled, competent, well educated successors to the current practitioners. The question is do the academics in charge of the institutions where the next generation is trained understand that as well?

          It seems they would rather implement lower standards to attract and place applicants by priority of skin tone than individual ability or merit. Until those in control of the institutions fix the tribalism there will be those who could have been a Physician but instead go into investment banking.

      gonzotx in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 11, 2023 at 8:30 pm

      They are not qualified if they are let in because they are black, queer, trans or female and that’s what they are letting in. Period
      I saw this coming as a nurse of 45 years over a decade ago

      I don’t trust Drs under 45


      Gosport in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 12, 2023 at 10:44 am

      Elite medical schools are deliberately recruiting woke activists, jeopardizing their mission of training physicians.
      Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns

      The American College of Physicians says its mission is to promote the “quality and effectiveness of health care,” but it’s stepped out of its lane recently with sweeping statements on gun control. And that isn’t the only recent foray into politics by medical professionals. During my term as associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, I was chastised by a faculty member for not including a program on climate change in the course of study. As the Journal reported last month, such programs are spreading across medical schools nationwide.

      Med School curricula aren’t exactly infamous for wasting time instead of cramming medical knowledge as possible into the student while they can. So one must wonder what is being left out of that curricula make room for the wokeness lectures and labs?

      Next we can do woke-driven entrance standards, quotas, etc.

      Universities are a business. Perhaps to attract clients they should teach important skills and skip the propaganda. Just a thought

Close The Fed | March 11, 2023 at 6:47 pm

This is Great!

It also coincides with a pretty massive awakening in education that college isn’t right for everybody. This has led to a lot of states reinvigorating skills classes and graduation pathways. A little over half the graduates are already employed as welders/carpenters/hvac.

stevewhitemd | March 11, 2023 at 9:30 pm

As a university professor, I endorse this. Higher education should be undertaken when —

— you know what you want to do
— it requires higher education to get there
— you’re prepared to do the work
— you want to do the work
— you have a financial plan that won’t ruin you

Too many young people, particularly in the small colleges and lower-tier regional universities (but also a fair number in the Ivies) fail one or more of those conditions. They shouldn’t be there.

A young person doesn’t have to go to college. One can prepare for a trade, a life, and a decent living doing other things.

    nordic prince in reply to stevewhitemd. | March 12, 2023 at 12:55 am

    I wasn’t a uni prof, but I did teach math part-time at the community college for over ten years. I would concur. Most of the students I saw during my stint weren’t really cut out to go to college: they lacked the academic and/or emotional maturity to make it through college, they went to college because they had it hammered in their heads for years that college is the only path to a decent life and anything less than white collar pretty much meant that you were a loser, and they didn’t have any real direction in life. In all that time there were perhaps a handful of students that were genuinely interested in learning. The rest were just crossing off items from their to-do list.

    We’d be better off with fewer people attending college, even if the woke mind virus weren’t an issue. Quality over quantity. The more you have of something, the less it’s worth, and boy have we seen that in action over the past 30+ years with the value of a diploma. Make college degrees great again.

      CommoChief in reply to nordic prince. | March 12, 2023 at 11:28 am

      You and stevewhitemd hit it on the head. Far too much expansion in University to accommodate folks who shouldn’t be there. A humanities undergrad degree is frankly not a good investment as a.stand alone degree.

      Far too many young people come to University to extend their adolescence, b/c they bought into the ‘must go to College’ lie or from lack of any other purpose or direction. These folks would be better served by joining the workforce for a few years until they figure out what they want to spend the next several decades doing to pay their bills.

All students for the past 3 years are damaged goods. Their socialization skills are lacking and there is a 3 year gap in their learning. They didn’t learn anything during digital classroom zoom classes. Add to that the CRT, the woke movement, and the pussification of anything male adds to their inferiority.

Suburban Farm Guy | March 11, 2023 at 10:12 pm

With all the pathetic, idiotic, immature garbage we see at colleges these days — safe spaces, shouting-downs, queer bullying, abandonment of standards of behavior and academics, administrator overload and wildly disproportionate cost inflation — the groupthink and the blatant Marxism — holy cow! — they don’t deserve a dime of anyone’s money. They should be dynamited to the ground and nuclear waste facilities built on the site.

Yes we need real education, real rigor, actual science and research, absolutely, BUT things have gotten so radically out of balance that a radical correction is overdue.

I’m extremely gratified that we have a generation of youth who may actually see clearly and wisely enough that higher education has pretty much screwed the pooch, and is now nothing but a scam and a grift. Perhaps not all kids are fat, stupid, lazy communists after all.

Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School? The case for helping them leave, chart their own paths, and prepare for adulthood
Author: Blake Boles
Year: 2020

The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
Author: Bryan Caplin
Year: 2018

The Teenage Liberation Handbook (Third Edition): How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
Author: Grace Llewelyn
Year: 2021

Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas
Author: Thomas Sowell
Year: 1992

Permit me, please, to remind : Almost all colleges and grad schools in the U.S. need you more than you need them.

Also, again just as a reminder: If you do not go to college straight out of high school, you can always apply /enroll at age 19. Or 20. Or 21, etc.

– – –

In the past, the prestige question was what college you attended. In the future, the prestige questions will be what you did after high school. what language(s) you mastered. what countries you lived and worked in.


IMO the first thing higher education needs to do to regain credibility is dump the degrees in fields better ‘taught’ at a community center hobby night or an ashram.

Get Govt out of the student loan business. Force prospective student loan borrowers to present a detailed business plan to the lending institution which describes exactly how the degree they seek will generate enough profit to pay the loan back on time. Why should the standard be any different than a small business loan?

Another Voice | March 12, 2023 at 3:09 pm

All those choosing not to attend college yet still expect to find a career in an area of interest may very well be in 10 years further ahead and financially much more debt free and solid. Being this generation is staying home longer, they have the opportunity to entry field jobs in any of the building trades and have the benefit for taking field work apprenticeships. Taking an entry job in finances as are banks which often comes with free tuition banking and accounting classes at the nearest Community Colleges. Having to have a college degree is relatively new in the previous 35 years. Many of those now just retiring or are retired and who have the largest amount of personal accrued assets did so by self-initiatives minus a 4 year degree in the field they worked. The ability to learn can be done in the doing of entry level jobs. Learning and mastering a job from the bottom up is in of itself a motivator to do well to move forward.