Let’s Talk About Higher Education

 (And Why the Enrollment Rate is Dramatically Decreasing)

higher education

You may have heard that college enrollment numbers have been steadily declining. Here are the facts:

  • Between 2009 and 2019, undergraduate enrollment decreased by 5%. This means that even before the pandemic, enrollment was declining. 
  • Since the fall 0f 2019, enrollment has continued to decrease — it’s now at about 6.6% since 2009.
  • This represents the greatest decline in college enrollment since 1

Why is this happening?

There are many reasons for this, including declining birth rates, greater job availability, and an increase in skepticism about the need for a college degree. The student loan crisis undoubtedly plays an important role as well. And of course, COVID-19.

What does it mean long-term?

The consequences of a decline in higher ed enrollment are widely debated. There are those who see it as solely negative — American society could be altered for the worse, we won’t be able to compete with our economic rival nations who have seen increases in college enrollment, etc.

higher education

Others see the positive side: the benefits of a college education only apply to those who complete their degree. As it stands, the average completion rate for any degree or certificate is only slightly above half. Some (or most) individuals who are now choosing not to pursue a college degree may be saving the time and money they would have spent on a partially completed program. 

Our society’s attitude toward college is changing, and many believe this is for the best. Higher education institutions are being forced to look at some of their more problematic practices, especially community colleges that traditionally have had no issue with taking students’ tuition money and Pell Grants knowing that many of them were not “prepared to succeed” in the first place.

Many of our members have a Bachelor’s degree, if not higher. We are curious what your thoughts are on the issue of declining college enrollment and the following questions: 

  • Why did you decide to go to college?
  • How has your degree (or degrees) benefited you? Looking back, would you change your decision to pursue a specific degree or program?
  • What are your thoughts on the declining college enrollment rates? How do you think this will affect the workforce?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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