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Plummeting U.S. Enrollments vs. Rising Economic Stresses

With the world coming to terms with the ever-changing state of life, post-COVID-19, the U.S. has resulted in the largest two-year decline in college enrollments in a half-century - while college enrollment fell 3.2% this year after a 3.4% decline last year.

(Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, NSCRC).

Undergraduate enrollment continues to trend downward across all sectors, with the steepest drops in the private for-profit four-year and public two-year institutions. Undergraduate female students declined slightly more than males (-4.1% and -3.4%, respectively). Moreover, enrollment continues to decrease in all racial and ethnic groups at community colleges (NSCRC).

Several schools have implemented strategies to overcome the issues at hand through physical distancing, hybrid teaching models with remote instruction, and safety precautions limiting both teacher-student and peer interactions. Moreover, some students have reported dealing with added trauma, including economic dislocation, hunger, and mental health challenges—all of which affect learning. (McKinsey & Company).

The full impact of this unprecedented global shift is yet to be weighed in the years to come. For students who have lacked access to educational tools and instructors, they need to succeed academically.

In this case, key players such as UpBrainery Technologies has revolutionized modern education to fit the evolving needs of parents and children. Providing virtual, individual tutoring, and small group classes to children for K-12, where students encounter a holistic learning experience that sharpens their abilities in a subject while also providing the confidence and support needed to succeed. Furthermore, our social and emotional learning content enables instructors to educate their students about SEL, which in the longer run will benefit their mental and social-well being in recovering from the traumas and disturbances caused by this global shift.

With the current stresses and concerns at hand, where some students may drop out of school early; others may lack the skills they need to progress to the next level of learning. It is imperative that innovative education models and services should be accessible because formal educational achievement is only one component of success in life, and it is correlated with higher earnings and better life outcomes. Moreover, the demand for advanced skills and degrees is increasing with the existing labor shortage.

According to NPR, overall, enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs has been trending downward since around 2012, but the pandemic turbocharged the declines at the undergrad level. "When fewer students go to college, fewer students graduate, get job training and move on to higher-paying jobs, meaning all this could have huge ramifications for the U.S. economy".

A major concern and question for the U.S. economy and citizens have become whether the drop-outs or potential unregistered students ever make their way back to obtain an educational degree? Since only 13% of college drop-outs come back within five years, found in an earlier report by the National Student Clearinghouse report, and even fewer graduates.

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