College enrollment reduced significantly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, even after the receding impacts of the virus, students are staying away from college degrees, which is expected to change the outlook of the American economy in times to come.
College Enrollment Rate Declining Dramatically in America
According to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 1.4 million students failed to enroll in colleges since the beginning of the pandemic.
The former official of the US Department of Education, Robert Eitel, noted many students were reluctant to admit themselves to colleges even before the pandemic; the virus just highlighted the issue for public attention.
One of the reasons for this low enrollment is the declining birth rate in the country, Eitel added. These low enrollment problems are equally valid for both the two-year and four-year degree programs.
Although the enrollment rate improved a bit for the two-year program in the spring of 2022, the situation worsened significantly in four years degree programs.
Students are hesitant about long-term educational commitments.
#NSClearinghouseResearch helps #highered institutions track enrollment, students with some college no credential, transfer and mobility, college completion rates and more. Discover how our research center can help your institution: https://t.co/sSPswahoCM #BenchmarkED pic.twitter.com/wNHSwto1zN
— National Student Clearinghouse (@NSClearinghouse) June 16, 2022
Experts suggest students are giving less weight to educational degrees in the post-pandemic times, considering how expensive education can put them into years of debt.
According to the Education Data Initiative, an academic year at a private college costs over $53,000, while it is nearly $27,000 for an out-of-state public college.
Eitel added families are continuously monitoring the rising tuition fees, which is forcing families to not put their children through formal education systems.
This is pushing colleges to a new dilemma, Eitel continued, as they have to do business with fewer students now, which means the fee for existing enrolled students can jump significantly.
However, public institutions will be equally impacted by the low enrollment rates. Most of the time, the state and federal governments release funding for public institutions based on the enrollment rates.
This means a lot of educational centers can soon be closed, which will also limit the options for existing students who want to study further.
Eitel claimed American education infrastructure is not ready for this dramatic change at the moment.
Over the last two years, approximately 1 million fewer students enrolled in college, four-year or two-year, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Learn more: https://t.co/Xk3nuIM7mC #pandemic #education #FutureofWork pic.twitter.com/OddvbGYbqY
— BRINK News (@BRINKNewsNow) June 10, 2022
Low Enrollment Rates Can Trigger Economic Crisis
Some educationists see these crises as a blessing in disguise.
The CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities, Daniel Hurley, noted the government is likely to give students as much as $6,000 just to attend the university to push the enrollment rates higher.
While Harley asserted the future of the four-year college degrees is protected, he was also alarmed that many students can leave college when they are offered a lucrative job in the ongoing great resignation crisis.
Here, they are offered higher wages without educational degrees.
However, despite all these optimistic assertions, most experts claim the ongoing trend is dangerous for the global economies.
Markets have to recalibrate their approaches when they hire a workforce not vetted through the formal educational system.