Kevin Carey wrote an article for Vox titled The Incredible Shrinking Future of College (November, 21, 2022).
« In four years, the number of students graduating from high schools across the country will begin a sudden and precipitous decline, due to a rolling demographic aftershock of the Great Recession. Traumatized by uncertainty and unemployment, people decided to stop having kids during that period. But even as we climbed out of the recession, the birth rate kept dropping… Classes will shrink, year after year, for most of the next two decades. People in the higher education industry call it “the enrollment cliff.” »
« small private colleges in New England have begun to blink off the map. »
« Demand for regional four-year universities, per Grawe, will drop by at least 7.5 percent across New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Southern states other than Florida and Texas, with smaller declines in the Great Plains. »
« Private colleges are even more vulnerable. Many have small financial endowments and get by year to year on tuition revenue. Unluckily for them, private colleges are disproportionately located in the Northeast and Midwest — the same regions that will be hit hardest by declining enrollment. When they shut down, they leave a void of employment and tax revenue that local communities can’t easily fill. »
« But the most powerful force driving the post-cliff transformation, by far, will be the labor market. First and foremost, students go to college so they can start a career. As tuition and student debt have increased, on-the-job training has declined, and as the unforgiving job market has raised the bar for well-paying careers, students have moved away from the traditional humanities toward degrees in business, health care, and IT.
The enrollment crisis will shift this trend into overdrive. Ship is responding to all the distribution centers out on I-81 by developing programs in logistics and supply chain management. It’s looking to create more short-term, job-focused certificates that lead up to a bachelor’s degree, and others that supplement BA’s after graduation. Other nearby colleges are expanding nursing programs, developing professional master’s degrees, and creating new courses for adults looking to change careers. »
« Colleges … will be actively promoting it, jettisoning “unprofitable” majors that used to be sheltered inside universities with more than enough students »
« it’s certainly true that college is not always worth it for everyone. Before the student loan collection system was frozen in 2020, a million people were defaulting on their loans every year. »