Highlights from Higher Ed: Cost Concerns, Unhappy Faculty, Hispanic Enrollment, and Falling Test Scores 

Oct 20, 2022

Nearly four out of five adults say paying for college would be difficult 

More than three-quarters (77%) of recently surveyed U.S. adults said they would have a hard time financing a college education. More women (82%) than men (73%) expressed that concern. Among both sexes, Black respondents were most likely (80%) to say it would be hard to pay higher-ed expenses, followed by Hispanic (78%) and White (77%) respondents. The survey delivered some relatively good news to community colleges; 65% of those surveyed consider them affordable. A smaller number (57%) feel the same about vocational and professional certificate programs. “Almost two-thirds of respondents, 64%, said they never had student loan debt. One in five said they took out student loans but paid them off.” Whereas 26% owe less than $10,000, almost the same number (24%) owe more than $50,000. 

Source: Higher Ed Dive 

The majority of dissatisfied faculty have considered a career change recently 

A survey of more than 1,000 faculty members at nearly 600 U.S. colleges and universities revealed that almost two-thirds (64%) are happy in their current role, but the vast majority of those who are not have thought about changing careers recently. Among the 26% who described themselves as unsatisfied, 70% said they thought about switching careers within the previous six months. Upper management may be to blame: “The top driver of dissatisfaction for discontented faculty is ‘feeling unsupported by their institutions, or under pressure from administration’ (29%), followed closely by 28% who feel they are undervalued or underpaid.” Although 88% said teaching is their favorite part of the job, faculty members, on average, spend only 42% of their time teaching. Most faculty (77%) said teaching courses in different formats (online, face-to-face, and hybrid) “has had a significant impact on their role.”   

Source: eCampus News 

Hispanic enrollment at four-year colleges continued to increase during the pandemic 

The number of Hispanic students enrolled in four-year U.S. colleges and universities has been surging for decades — and even continued to rise during the pandemic. Overall, fewer Hispanic students were enrolled in college in 2020 than in 2019, but that was attributable to a decline of 230,000 (15%) in the number attending two-year institutions. “It appears that this trend continued into fall 2021, as there was a decline in the number of higher-education institutions where Hispanics make up at least 25% of students.” The number of Hispanic college students at two- and four-year schools rose from 1.5 million in 2000 to a peak of 3.8 million in 2019, then dipped during the pandemic. “Hispanic enrollment at four-year institutions, by contrast, continued to rise even during the first year of the pandemic, increasing by about 140,000 students, or 6%, from 2019 to 2020.” 

Source: Pew Research Center 

ACT and SAT Scores Got Worse During the Pandemic 

The average composite ACT score for high school students who graduated in 2022 fell to the lowest level in more than 30 years. The highest possible score is 36. It dropped to 19.8 this year, marking the first time since 1991 that it was lower than 20. Although the pandemic is a likely factor, the average score has been in decline for five consecutive years. SAT scores were lower as well, falling from an average of 1060 for the Class of 2021 to 1050 the following year. “While more people took either of the exams this year, their numbers were still fewer than in 2020, the last year before students would have taken the tests before the pandemic struck.” Approximately 320,000 fewer students took the ACT this year as compared with 2020; about 460,000 fewer took the SAT. 

Source: Inside Higher Ed 


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