Question of the Day: Why Are Fewer People Going to College?

Sep 30, 2014
Career, Paying for College, Question of the Day


Good opportunity to engage students in some critical thinking including interpreting data and reasoning skills as well as understanding the value of a college degree.

The chart above shows the downward trend.  PBS NewsHour highlights the factors at work here:

  • Strengthening economy and more jobs reduce flow to colleges.  The opposite occurs in a down economy.
  • This slight decrease follows boom of 3.2 million students between 2006-2011.
  • Sharper reduction in 2 year colleges where enrollment dropped by 10% while enrollment at four year colleges increased by 1%.
  • Among income groups, sharpest drop-off was among middle class students.
    • Could cost be an issue in particular for this group?
  • Value of a college education remains as strong as ever as the chart below shows
    • Students can see among Millenials that the gap between college educated students and high school graduates is increasing.


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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