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Half of incoming students worry they’ll drop out: Will taxpayers be on the hook?

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Faced with increased pressure to pursue a university education, many college-bound students are worried they will become drop-outs. According to a new report from Allianz Global Assistance, 51 percent of prospective students believe there is a chance they won’t finish college. Nearly half of currently enrolled students said the same.

Surveyed students cited “a [potential] family emergency,” “stress,” and “mental and physical health” as reasons for their drop-out anxiety. Imagine that — even with Obamacare, students are stressed that their physical health might prevent them from graduating.

This could just be the stress talking, but it’s clear that students are questioning whether college is worth the risk.

While Americans are attending college at record rates, full-time enrollment immediately after high school is no longer the standard. For this reason and others (like impacted classes,) only 35 percent of students graduate in four years. Moreover, less than three quarters of students graduate in six years, causing concern for many college-bound seniors.

With the cost of tuition skyrocketing and student debt choking economic growth for those who have graduate, it’s no surprise that college-bound students are getting cold feet.

Throughout high school, they’ve been told that college is the only path to a fulfilling career, and their teachers and counselors have put down trade schools and apprenticeships. They’ve likely seen their siblings and their cousins go away to college and want to follow in their footsteps.

However, they’ve also likely seen that 91 percent of millennials are struggling to find employment after graduation, and have witnessed the rise of blue collar jobs in the age of Trump. With this in the back of their mind, is it any wonder why these students are second guessing the college track?

Parents might be the most distraught over the results of this survey, but every taxpayer should also feel a knot in their stomach. It’s the taxpayers who are ultimately on the hook for federal loans, and with students so unsure about their college investment, they have reason to be uneasy. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that $108 billion in student loan debt from loans made over the last 22 years will be forgiven and $29 billion will be discharged because of death or disability. This doesn’t account for future loans.

Despite their anxiety, most of these worrisome students will likely suck it up and continue down the college path, namely because it’s expected of them. Meanwhile, the rebels who choose to buck the bachelor’s degree and pick up a trade might just find themselves generously rewarded.


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