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Graduating college with crushing student loan debt and few or no marketable skills perhaps have given American families second thoughts about higher education’s return on investment.
According to The Washington Post, “Hundreds of thousands have left the college pipeline amid pandemic turmoil and the lure of jobs. This scenario, in turn, has prompted a “daunting” cash-flow challenge for these institutions, which might be the key subtext of the article published by the Jeff Bezos-owned publication.
Apart from STEM degrees, some would-be applicants are apparently opting for in-demand, high-paying jobs in the skilled trades rather than undergoing four-years of on-campus Marxist indoctrination.
Many schools switched to remote learning (without a reduction in tuition) during the COVID pandemic. Mask and vaccine mandates are also on the agenda for students returning to campus to resume their studies in person.
In its article headlined “Colleges scramble to recruit students as nationwide enrollment plunges,” which you can read in its entirety for the full context, the Post is also lamenting that the gap year, when high-school graduates take time off before continuing their education, has become perpetual.
“Colleges across America face a daunting challenge: Their student head count has shrunk more than 5 percent since 2019, according to a national estimate, as debate over the value of higher education intensified during the public health crisis and economic tumult,” the news outlet reported.
Law students fed up with COVID excuses: Demand university host in-person classes or lower tuition https://t.co/vGw809vKIC
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) January 1, 2022
“That’s an enrollment loss of nearly 1 million students. Some drifted out of college, while others never started. Many colleges are on an urgent quest to keep current students and recover their lost freshmen. At stake are not only the education and career prospects of huge numbers of young adults, but also the financial health of regional colleges and universities. Once students leave, they often don’t return. Gap years can become permanent.”
Federally guaranteed student loans have not, for the most part, provided colleges and universities with an incentive to significantly cut the overhead, such as reducing the non-teaching bureaucracy, which includes equity gatekeepers.
State-supported, i.e., taxpayer-subsidized, colleges and universities, are far less expensive than private counterparts. Of course, some students are fortunate enough to receive full or partial scholarships.
According to the Post, “The promise of social mobility, at an affordable price, draws students from low-income families to public colleges and universities. They see the bachelor’s degree as a ticket to a better life.”
Separately, that highly credentialed, often Ivy League-educated, media and political class have not been exemplars of competence especially in recent years may also be a factor in the disillusionment of pursuing a formal degree.
Consume and cover! Harvard instructs students on how to eat and drink with masks https://t.co/Qt72y7GILv pic.twitter.com/T49Yp25cZ7
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 16, 2021
Bachelor degrees “are neither a prerequisite for, nor a guarantee of, career success. But research shows they are powerfully correlated with good jobs,” the Post noted.
It also conceded, however, that “Now, many potential college students are feeling the pull of the job market. The nation’s unemployment rate edged below 4 percent in February, and employers are offering higher wages and benefits for entry-level jobs that don’t require a college degree.”
Parenthetically, some universities, even at the graduate-degree level, have abandoned standardized testing and/or lowered standards to fill classroom seats.
Although obviously a lot of retirements have occurred since then, observers have quipped in the past that universities served as a hiring hall for otherwise unemployable 1960s-era hippies or various radicals.
As has been chronicled, to date it is very difficult for otherwise qualified non-leftists interested in pursuing teaching as a career to get hired or obtain tenure at the university level. Established professors also encounter issues.
Portland professor resigns with scathing letter about woke brainwashing at ‘social justice factory’ https://t.co/567cUweBm0 pic.twitter.com/re5qdyW1Se
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 9, 2021
Citing a Georgetown University study, the Post explained that “the median lifetime earnings of those whose highest credential is a bachelor’s degree was $2.8 million, with the top quartile making at least $4.1 million. For those with only a high school diploma, the median was $1.6 million, with the top quartile at $2.2 million or more.”
The director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and Workforce, the research entity that conducted the study, told the Post that “the bachelor’s degree ‘is still the gold standard, especially over the long term.'”
“That vision can be a tough sell,” the Post admitted, however, about the current value proposition.
Gutfeld blasts AOC, fellow squad member Tlaib over their student loan debt: ‘Screw you – that’s on you!’ https://t.co/aTjGNsWwbw
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) December 15, 2021
Various influencers and others are opining on the Post story. Here is a sample:
The inevitable occurs yet again, much to everyone's apparent surprise… https://t.co/QzDciMep1o
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) April 5, 2022
Time to build new academic institutions and let the old crumble. @uaustinorg
“Colleges scramble to recruit students as nationwide enrollment plunges” https://t.co/dtaiiC3bB4
— Peter Boghossian (@peterboghossian) April 4, 2022
It's not worth it. Keep it up!
"Their student head count has shrunk more than 5% since 2019…as debate over the value of higher education intensified."https://t.co/1gJiLiNaQM
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 2, 2022
Overpriced credentialism is collapsing.
Universities used to be the gatekeepers of knowledge. Now all knowledge is available for free online.
Employers used to require their credential for a job.
Now it’s talent and skill that gets you hired. https://t.co/7xRjJ1IKn8
— Bryan Beal 🎧 (@bryanrbeal) April 4, 2022
It’s a mystery… pic.twitter.com/icFcDpWGUT
— Douglas Karr (@douglaskarr) April 3, 2022
Maybe the cost is prohibitive? Just a guess…also merit aid is a joke, financial aid is ridiculous.. college is only affordable for the extremely wealthy or poor. Middle class get screwed.
— lira (@laalira2) March 31, 2022
College is a huge waste of time and money. We need to increase standards in high schools, and encourage more young people in the trades.
I have never regretted anything more than education.
— JKLMD (@jklmd123) March 31, 2022
Tuition should be like real estate, whatever the market will allow. Sounds like they have priced themselves out of the market and need an adjustment.
— Allyson Otten (@AllysonOtten) March 31, 2022
College is absolutely not essential for a great many career fields.
Not having a degree will not wreck someone’s financial stability.
Not having a work ethic…THAT will wreck someone’s financial stability, regardless of degrees or qualifications. https://t.co/JsfwDXangA
— Keith Besherse (@KeithBesherse) April 5, 2022
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