Why fewer Americans are going to college - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15280177
Fewer numbers of young Americans are going to college and deciding to get a 4-year university degree.
This is dramatic, unprecedented, and to many people very concerning.

Some might see this as yet another indicator of America's decline.

I've highlighted and paraphrased just a few select parts from the article.

The proportion of high school graduates in Tennessee who are going directly to college is plummeting. Last year, it was less than 53 percent. That's down 11 percentage points since 2017.

There is a continuing slide in the number of Americans willing to invest the money and the time it takes to go to college. It's a trend that some experts worry is likely to diminish people’s quality of life and the country’s economic competitiveness.

"With the exception of wartime, the United States has never been through a period of declining educational attainment like this," said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish high school - from a high of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Many observers have suggested three principal explanations for the falloff: the Covid-19 pandemic, a dip in the number of Americans under 18 and a strong labor market sucking young people straight into the workforce. But while the pandemic made things worse, the enrollment downturn took hold well before it started; there were already two and a half million fewer students at colleges and universities by the time that Covid set in than there were in 2012. Another million and a half have disappeared since then.

Demographics alone cannot explain the scale of this drop. And statistics belie the claim that recent high school graduates are getting jobs instead of going to college; workforce participation for 16- to 24-year-olds is actually lower than it was before Covid hit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Myriad focus groups and public opinion surveys point to other reasons for the dramatic downward trend. These include widespread and fast-growing skepticism about the value of a degree, impatience with the time it takes to get one and costs that have finally exceeded many people’s ability or willingness to pay.

The proportion of high school graduates going to college in Indiana dropped to 53 percent in 2020, down by 12 percentage points from five years earlier -- a pace Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery has called "alarming". In West Virginia, 46 percent of 2021 high school graduates went on to college the following fall, 10 percent below that state's high of 56 percent in 2010. Fifty-four percent of 2021 high school grads in Michigan went straight to college, down 11 percent from 2016. In Arizona, 46 percent of high school graduates in 2020 went to college the following fall, a drop from more than 55 percent in 2017. In Alabama, recent high school graduates' college-going in 2020 fell to 54 percent, down 11 percent since 2014; and in Idaho, to 39 percent, down 11 percent since 2017.

Americans are increasingly dubious about the need to go to college. Fewer than one in three adults now say a degree is worth the cost, according to a survey by the Strada Education Network.

There is growing dissatisfaction among recent university and college graduates with the value of the education they received. More than four in 10 bachelor's (4-year degree) holders under 45 did not agree that the benefits of their educations exceeded the costs, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. Only a quarter of recent grads in another survey, by the educational publishing and technology company Cengage, said that, if they could do it again, they would take the same educational path. That adds up to a lot of bad reviews passed down to younger siblings and classmates, who consider family and friends the most trustworthy sources about whether and where to go to college, according to a survey by Vox Global.
"If you don’t believe your degree was worth the cost and you tell everybody that, that has a huge impact."

Meanwhile, months of discussion about whether the Biden administration will forgive all or some student loan debt has had an unintended consequence: It has reminded prospective learners just how much people before them had to borrow to pay for college. So has the fact that many of their parents are still paying back their student loans.

Between 2015 and 2019, Americans' faith in higher education dropped more than their confidence in any other institution measured by the Gallup polling organization -- an extraordinary erosion of trust, considering that list includes the presidency, Congress, big business and the criminal justice system.

Yet since the start of the pandemic, the proportion of 14- to 18-year-olds who think education is necessary beyond high school has dropped from 60 percent to 45 percent. More than half of teenagers who are planning on some further education say they are open to something other than a four-year degree.

It's not only recent high school graduates who are turning their backs on higher education. The number of students over 24 who are going for the first time or returning to college has also steadily declined, by a total of 12 percent in the five years between the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2022.

Community colleges have seen the most dramatic declines in enrollment.

The growing disparities in college-going could widen the fissures already polarizing American society. "Places like Los Angeles or D.C. or Chicago, they're going to continue to draw a lot of college graduates."

How higher education lost its shine Americans are rejecting college in record numbers, but the reasons may not be what you think, Jon Marcus, August 10, 2022
https://hechingerreport.org/how-higher- ... its-shine/

You can read the comments in the very bottom of the page in the link.
#15280180
The prices of a good education are skyrocketing. This also going to affect how many people take advanced education. This has nothing to do with "the decline of America". :roll:
#15280198
It has become a luxury to get a professional education in the past 10-20 years. Back in the 60s, college cost a lot less as did a lot of things. Even 10 years ago, my alma mater cost less. Now looking at my latest bill, it is a bit more. It is a few hundred dollars more but still, it's not as if they're teaching vastly new material than they did ten years ago. The same professors just keep teaching the same way using the same book, only a different edition. Not really much has changed regarding teaching style and methods.

I have noticed that a lot of people will work retail or the manufacturing manual labor jobs. The last company I worked at was mostly manufacturing workers and a small fraction were actually office staff with college education. This correlates with the majority of Americans being in the blue collar class. They keep finding work and they don't feel like studying for a degree is worth the expense, they already have a lot of expenses. Most common expenses for the working class are medical bills, rent and other living expenses. So college ends up being just an extra expense. Who needs an extra expense? :hmm:
#15280203
@MistyTiger

College education should be viewed as an investment which entails some level of risk. Like any investment, it might not pay off. A good investor will seek to minimize his or her risks and invest with a long view. So, the job of the person seeking an education is to minimize his or her risk while maximizing the probability they will see an acceptable return on investing in a college education. Of course, it helps to have a way to fund your education debt free if that is possible. For most Americans, this is not possible.

Therefore, one must first be familiar with how the university education system works and pick universities or local community colleges that are properly accredited and offer the cost of their education in an affordable price range for a family given their specific set of life and financial circumstances. They should also choose degrees which offer the highest probability of providing a good paying job after graduation. Following this path, minimizes college education expenses and increases the probability that one will see a maximum return on investing in a college education over the long term for an individual's specific financial and life circumstances.
#15280214
Politics_Observer wrote:@MistyTiger

College education should be viewed as an investment which entails some level of risk. Like any investment, it might not pay off. A good investor will seek to minimize his or her risks and invest with a long view. So, the job of the person seeking an education is to minimize his or her risk while maximizing the probability they will see an acceptable return on investing in a college education. Of course, it helps to have a way to fund your education debt free if that is possible. For most Americans, this is not possible.

Therefore, one must first be familiar with how the university education system works and pick universities or local community colleges that are properly accredited and offer the cost of their education in an affordable price range for a family given their specific set of life and financial circumstances. They should also choose degrees which offer the highest probability of providing a good paying job after graduation. Following this path, minimizes college education expenses and increases the probability that one will see a maximum return on investing in a college education over the long term for an individual's specific financial and life circumstances.


I agree that an education is an investment. However from their view, it's an expense and blue collar people typically don't have a lot of money to spend. They might have debts like credit card debts or gambling debts. So do they always want a college debt? Probably not. Money management seems like an easy concept but it actually isn't. Unless you really know how to organize and budget your funds, you will just be paying money here and there, and you will wonder why there is never enough to go around. Not everyone is a careful planner.
#15280229
@MistyTiger

That's true. It's important to have a supportive and understanding family unit backing somebody trying to get a college education. It's especially tough to get a college education and work both at the same time.

Probably the best strategy if you have to work is simply go to school part time so you don't overwork yourself and damage your health. You will also have to keep your employer happy with your job performance while you work and go to school.
#15280309
Politics_Observer wrote:@MistyTiger

That's true. It's important to have a supportive and understanding family unit backing somebody trying to get a college education. It's especially tough to get a college education and work both at the same time.

Probably the best strategy if you have to work is simply go to school part time so you don't overwork yourself and damage your health. You will also have to keep your employer happy with your job performance while you work and go to school.


People also need to understand how to manage their money. It is easier said than done. People just love to spend on toys, vacations and other worldly goods. Some of it is to show off in front of their friends. It's best not to have a lot of shallow friends, but some people just cannot stand to be lonely. But I'm happy to have very few friends especially not ones who gossip about me and everyone else. Yuck!
#15280322
@MistyTiger

My wife and I are big savers and we also plan our finances. Plus, I make sure we are well insured. The only insurance we can't afford or get right now is long term care insurance, which is expensive.

We save for unexpected emergencies so that if they happen, we got the money to pay for an unexpected high cost emergency without stressing.

Moreover, I have been investing towards our retirement and such. It's making money and getting good returns. I have plenty of experience and a good track record investing towards financial goals for the long term.

My strategy is simple: just invest in low cost index funds and take advantage of dollar cost averaging. I don't worry or care how the markets are doing because it always makes money over the long term with this strategy.
#15280425
Unthinking Majority wrote:I've listened to course lectures on Youtube. Maybe we need more Youtubes. Maybe every lecture should be uploaded there and Youtube can give out degrees.


Maybe. I have seen some great courses too. However, there's also a lot of fakers, scammers, etc. on there passing themselves off as legitimate people.

Case in point, all the moron financial experts and educators on youtube. There are lots and lots of fakers on youtube.
#15280438
Rancid wrote:Maybe. I have seen some great courses too. However, there's also a lot of fakers, scammers, etc. on there passing themselves off as legitimate people.

Case in point, all the moron financial experts and educators on youtube. There are lots and lots of fakers on youtube.

Yeah. But these were literally courses in a class with students. Yeah financial advice is always murky.
#15280440
@Unthinking Majority

I don't know, the advice about investing in low-cost index funds is simple, easy to understand, and has always worked for me! Nothing murky about something that is simple and easy to understand and works! Throwing in about 15% of your portfolio into a REIT index fund through a company like Vanguard along with having the other 85 percent in a low-cost fund of index funds invested in stock and bond indexes in the US and around the world is a great strategy to get a return on investment and still keep up with inflation! REIT index funds, especially through a company like Vanguard, are excellent for combating inflation given they invest in commercial real estate.

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