Highlights from Higher Ed: College Falling out of Favor, Political Application Choices, Test Score Submissions, Community College Enrollments

Apr 5, 2023

Community college enrollment numbers improved in the Spring semester

Dual-enrollment students and those who decided to begin their freshman studies during the second semester helped fuel an increase in the number of applications submitted to community colleges for Spring 2023 classes. Yet, community college enrollment remains 1.9% lower than two years ago and 14% below pre-pandemic levels. “Enrollment grew among undergraduate students 17 years old and younger — typically students enrolled dually in community college and high school — whose numbers rose by 10.6% in spring 2023 from the previous year.” Public four-year colleges are still struggling to reverse enrollment declines exacerbated by the pandemic: enrollment decreased 0.9% in the Spring semester. Those institutions account for approximately 50% of all U.S. college students.

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Fewer than half of Common Applications submitted with standardized test scores

Only 43% of the students who applied to college using the Common Application for the current academic year submitted SAT or ACT test scores as part of the process. That is essentially unchanged from the previous year but is significantly lower than the year before the pandemic, when almost 75% submitted test scores. Only 4% of Common App member colleges required standardized test scores for this year’s applicants, compared with 55% for 2019-2020. “Only 35% of students from the lowest income bracket sent in scores in 2022-23, roughly the same share as in the prior two years. In 2019-20, about 67% of lowest-income applicants provided scores.” By contrast, almost half of the wealthiest applicants submitted test scores for 2022-2023, down from nearly 75% before the pandemic.

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Most Americans believe a college degree is not worth the cost

Earning a college degree is no longer considered by most Americans to be a worthwhile financial investment. A survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted in March revealed that just 42% believe college is worth the cost, whereas 56% disagreed with that statement. Ten years ago, 53% of people thought college was a good investment because having “a degree provides better employment and income opportunities.” That number fell to 49% in 2017, when 47% held the opposite view. According to one assessment, “student debt, which has reached $1.7 trillion, and the 60% graduation rate at four-year colleges [are] two of the biggest problems undermining confidence in the sector.” Democrats, people with a college degree, and those earning in excess of $100,000 annually are the only demographic groups of survey respondents in which a majority still believe college is worth the expense. “Women and older Americans are driving the decline in confidence. People over the age of 65 with faith in college declined to 44% from 56% in 2017. Confidence among women fell to 44% from 54%, according to the poll.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

25% of applicants refuse to consider schools in certain states for political reasons

New research has confirmed what many educators already suspected: A significant number of potential college students avoid applying to schools in states they perceive to be politically unaligned with their personal values. That, in turn, may have “dire implications for some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions.” While 25% of students overall said they will not apply to schools in certain states for political reasons, the number was higher among those who identified themselves as liberal (31%). Liberal students are most likely to overlook schools in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida whereas conservatives are most likely to rule out California and New York. Most Americans attend college in their home states, yet “many elite campuses accept half or more of their students from out of state… and many applicants said they rejected colleges in their own states on political grounds.”

Source: The Hill


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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.