College Education:- While the world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects, attention being paid to distance learning and e-learning is already making some high school graduates reconsider pursuing a college or university (Tetiary) education, particularly in developed nations like the United States, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Young people are reportedly becoming disillusioned with education and looking for alternative ways to make a living instead of relying solely on what a university degree can provide due to the flexibility and cost-effectiveness that remote learning offers, along with the ability to develop skills one can use to earn a living.
One of the thousands of young adults who graduated from high school during the pandemic and are choosing career paths other than attending (Tetiary) college was Grayson Hart, who oversees a youth theater program at the Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center in Jackson, Tennessee, according to the Associated Press.
Grayson Hart constantly saw a college degree in his future. He went to an excellent high school and was a decent student. He considered becoming a teacher or an actor. Growing up, he thought the only way to get a decent job, financial security, and a happy life was to go to college. Every college he applied to accepted him, but he rejected them all. The expense was a major consideration, but a year of online education also gave him the time and confidence to forge his own path.
Due to the flexibility and cost-effectiveness that remote learning offers, along with the ability to develop skills one can use to earn a living, young people are reportedly becoming disenchanted with education and searching for alternative ways to make a living instead of relying solely on what a university degree can provide.
There were many of us affected by the pandemic, and we all had a “Well, I can sort this out” mentality, he added. Why would I spend all this money on a piece of paper that wouldn’t truly help with what I’m doing at the moment?
What appeared to be a pandemic blip at first has developed into a crisis. Undergraduate college enrollment decreased 8% nationwide from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the decline in the percentage of students enrolling in college since 2018 is the steepest on record.
The effects might be disastrous, according to economists. At worst, it might represent a younger generation that has little faith in the worth of a college education. It looks like individuals who skipped college during the pandemic are doing so permanently, at the very least. They haven’t enrolled after a year or two, despite predictions to the contrary.
According to Georgetown University scholar Zack Mabel, “It’s quite a risky idea for the strength of our national economy.”
Pupils believe that their schools have failed them.
“The shift has been apparent in Jackson,” said Scott Campbell, executive director of Persist Nashville, a group that provides college coaching. “Only four out of ten of the county’s public high school grads immediately went to college in 2021, down from six out of ten in 2019. The nation as a whole had a dip from 66% to 62%, although that decline is considerably more pronounced, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Daniel Moody, 19, was sought out to manage the plant’s plumbing after graduating from a high school in Memphis in 2021. He’s happy he skipped college because he’s now making $24 per hour.
“I would be dead broke if I had gone to college after school,” he stated. “You’re not making the kind of money we’re making out here.”
Prior to the epidemic, college enrollment rates in America were typically on the up. Rates decreased despite an increase in the number of high school graduates in the country and economic turmoil, which generally encourages more people to pursue higher education.
Only 53% of Tennessee’s public high school graduates were enrolled in college in 2021, considerably below the national average, prompting education officials to issue a “call to action.” It was a surprise for a state that in 2014 made community college free, which increased the rate of students enrolling in college. It hasn’t been this low since at least 2009.
The current generation is unique. They approach their jobs, and how they spend their time and money, more pragmatically.
Most states are still gathering data on current college enrollment rates, but preliminary results are concerning.
During the pandemic, the percentage of recent high school graduates attending college in Arkansas decreased from 49% to 42%. Kentucky fell by a comparable percentage, to 54%. The higher education commissioner in Indiana issued a warning that the “future of our state is at peril” after the most recent data revealed a 12-point decline from 2015 to 2020.
The statistics for Black, Hispanic, and low-income pupils, who had the biggest declines in several states, are even more concerning. Only 35% of Hispanic and 44% of Black graduates in Tennessee’s class of 2021 attended college, as opposed to 58% of their white counterparts.
Hart claims that now that he is back in Jackson, he is working on projects he loves and supporting the expanding arts scene there. He still ponders what comes next. His salary isn’t particularly higher, but it’s adequate for stability. He occasionally finds himself considering Broadway, but he doesn’t have a specific plan for the following ten years.
Nigerians might do the same.
Although it is yet unclear if more Nigerians are deterring themselves from pursuing postsecondary education, statistics show that since 2020, fewer applicants have registered for the UTME, which is administered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Almost 2.1 million people enrolled for the exam in 2020, but that number fell to 1.3 million in 2021. Then, the introduction of the National Identification Number, or NIN, which, according to him, reduced repeated applications, is blamed for the fall by the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
Yet since then, the figure has not kept pace with the number of high school graduates. About 1.8 million applicants applied in 2022, and only 1.5 million did so this year.
Nonetheless, some young Nigerians are reconsidering postsecondary education due to the increase in tuition costs at some institutions, particularly those operated by state governments, and the covert implementation of new levies at some federal schools.