A National Student Clearinghouse study reveals that college enrollment has declined 2.3 percent this spring compared to last year as more Americans skip the academic route and jump directly into the workforce.
The biggest drop in college enrollment rates was among adult learners at for-profit and public community colleges, which saw a drop of 8.7 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, as reported by USA Today.
According to an article by Inside Higher Ed, however, the accelerated drop in enrollment is not uncommon, as rates often decline or remain stagnant as the economy begins to pick up.
It’s “a bit of a return to normal” according to Doug Shapiro, the executive director of the non-profit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which released the report.
“It’s reflective of good news for the economy and labor market,” Shapiro told USA Today.
The ‘improving’ economy and labor market may not be the real reasons college enrollment is down, however. It’s highly likely than many Americans simply cannot afford to pay the exorbitant cost of earning a degree.
“I would agree that the enrollment rate was declining for that reason [improving economy], if the economy or labor market for Millennials were actually improving,” Evan Feinberg, the president of Generation Opportunity, told Red Alert Politics. “But it has been stagnant since the recession.”
Feinberg added that government “meddling” in education drove up the cost of college, making it unaffordable for many and lowering the enrollment rate.
“It’s simple supply and demand,” he said.
Instead of enrolling in college and taking on large amounts of student debt, many Americans seem to be realizing that returning to the workforce and pursuing more career-oriented options may be their best bet. After all, with the current rate of youth unemployment at 11.1 percent, many young adults would probably end up bartending or working as a barista after college anyway, which they could have done right out of high school without the all the debt.
Turns out Jon Stewart had a point with his “Scared Straight” spoof last week!