Highlights from Higher Ed: “Some College, No Credential,” Undergrad Enrollment, School Closure Repercussions, Parental Perspectives

May 3, 2023

The number of Americans who left college without credentials exceeds 40 million

By July 2021, approximately 40.4 million Americans had gone to college at some point but stopped attending before earning a credential, according to data compiled by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC). That amounted to a 3.6% year-over-year increase in the number of “some college, no credential” U.S. residents. “During academic year 2021/22, nearly 80,000 fewer SCNC students re-enrolled, 7,000 fewer completed a credential within a year, and 23,100 fewer persevered to a second year of re-enrollment than the previous year.” The authors of the report recommend that institutions try to reverse the trend by focusing re-enrollment efforts on former students who had completed at least two years of school or who had withdrawn within the past year, groups referred to as “potential completers” and “recent stop-outs” respectively. Last year, almost 865,000 former students re-enrolled in college.

Source: Forbes

After declining for two years, undergrad enrollment increased modestly this year

The number of students who enrolled in undergraduate programs this spring grew overall — by 0.2% compared with last year — but not all types of institutions benefitted equally. Community colleges, which accounted for 58.8% of all incoming freshman, experienced a 2.1% increase in enrollment, while four-year public institutions reported a 0.9% decline. Although community college enrollment was boosted by an increase in the number of dual-enrollment high school students, those institutions “still face significant declines in adult learners, who have been opting out of college in larger numbers since the start of the pandemic.” The combined number of graduate and undergraduate students was unchanged from one year earlier. Enrollment in certificate programs increased at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. “Associate degree-seeking students increased slightly (0.3%) while bachelor’s seeking students continued to slide (-0.6%).”

Source: eCampusNews

Students at colleges that close are less likely to earn a degree

Students enrolled at colleges that go out of business not only experience the short-term consequences of being inconvenienced and needing to find a new school to attend but are also more likely than average to never earn a college credential. And those who have returned to school elsewhere were more likely to enroll in a shorter-term program and take longer to earn a credential. “Students who previously enrolled at a now-closed college were half as likely to complete a credential as students who did not. And students of color and certificate-seeking students saw worse outcomes after a college closure, while also being at a higher risk of experiencing” negative outcomes. Students who were pursuing a certificate when their schools closed were 29.8% less likely to re-enroll than those who were studying for an associate degree and 161.6% less likely to do so than those who had been in a bachelor’s degree program.

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Most parents of children under the age of 20 would support their decision to skip college

A recent survey of more than 1,000 parents with children ranging from the ages of 12 to 19 revealed that more than half would be supportive of their choice not to go to college. Overall, 64% would be “somewhat or very supportive.” Parents in their 20s and 30s were more likely than average to voice that opinion (71%) while those in their 50s and 60s were less likely to feel that way (57%). Eighty-two percent said thinking about the financial burden of paying for college causes stress, and more than half said the financial stress of paying for college is an obstacle affecting their family. More than two-thirds of parents (69%) said “they would be totally supportive if their child entered the workforce instead of going to college after high school; 38% said this was because they felt like a job would be more effective for gaining the necessary skills, while one in five said it would relieve their family from the cost of college.”

Source: Fast Company


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