College enrollment continues to decline nationwide, while Emory maintains similar enrollment numbers

Undergraduate and graduate enrollment rates at the college level fall 1.1% in the United States between fall 2021 and fall 2022. Although the decline was lower than the figures during COVID-19 pandemicthis follows a orient oneself which began in fall 2020 of more than a million fewer students enrolling in US colleges each year.

While private not-for-profit universities – which understand Emory University – only faces a 0.9% drop in enrollment, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions John Latting wrote in an email to the wheel that Emory had not experienced a drop in enrollment. According to the data collection by the Office of Planning and Administration, 15,846 students enrolled at the University in fall 2021, while 15,909 enrolled in fall 2022, an increase of approximately 0.4 %.

Optional test strategies have assistance Emory and other prestigious universities are not experiencing the same drop in enrollment that has affected many ssmaller and less selective schools and community colleges, according to Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Enrollment at Oxford Kelley Lips.

“Emory continued to have a strong enrollment rate and attract many talented and diverse students,” Lips wrote in an email to the wheel. “There have been no significant declines that are of concern at this time.”

The Emory University Admissions Building sits at the edge of campus. (Lin Yu/Staff Photographer)

Latting explained in an email to the wheel that the many job opportunities and financial hardship highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic are likely responsible for the lessen in enrollment in higher education.

“This time around there is the added factor of COVID, which has disrupted many students’ academic progress, leaving them feeling off track and open to other directions,” Latting wrote. “Despite the strength of the hiring market, many families are struggling economically, another reason students are focusing on short-term financial concerns rather than long-term investments in education.”

According to Lips, a a dramatic decline in the number of high school graduates is expected in 2025, in addition to the declining trend in college enrollment.

Makeida Pickens (21Ox, 23C) said she believes remote learning is driving students away from college as tuition costs continue to rise. increase without offering the normal college experience, prompting high school students to seek alternative paths to higher education.

“Colleges are continually raising their tuition to the point of being almost unaffordable, leading to people taking out loans and eventually having to pay them back for the rest of their lives,” Pickens said. “This fear of a possible lifetime of having student loan debt from just a bachelor’s degree is a very valid concern.”

More than 42% of 18-29 year olds reported having or living with someone who has student loan debt, while 70% said finances played a major role in deciding whether or not to pursue a college education.

There has been a major shift in student perspectives on the need for college during the pandemic, Lips noted. Labor shortages have created a increase labor demand, which caused many students to stray from the path to college.

Lips added that the pandemic has highlighted shortcomings in the supply chain, including the shortage of workers. As a result, several companies have offered incentives such as introducing a hybrid work model and raising wages to attract employees.

The combination of high tuition and a sense that colleges don’t really care about maximizing student success could make alternative pathways more attractive, said Julia Burca (26C). Swap schools, or post-secondary institutions that train students in a skilled trade, are an attractive option for some high school students because tuition is significantly cheaper and requires less time than a traditional four-year university degree. Unlike 4-year universities which, on average, Cost $37,600, trade schools generally Cost between $3,600 and $14,500 per year.

However, many students still choose to go to college thinking they will better job opportunities. A 2021 study revealed that 59% of high school students believed that a bachelor’s degree was necessary to get a good job.

“It’s certainly not the only way forward, but it’s the safest way,” Burca said. “While most college graduate jobs have a fixed cap on salary, there is also a minimum, while some jobs like trade schools or working with social media platforms have no cap on the wage but also no minimum wage, so the stakes are much higher.”

While many students traditionally faced pressure from teachers and parents to attend college, some are realizing they could also find personal and financial success without a bachelor’s degree, Pickens said.

While just under 16% of high school graduates to chase Trade or Vocational Schools After graduating, more than 40% of students intended to study a trade. High school graduates seek careers as electricians, plumbers and radiation therapists and continue income average annual salaries of up to $94,300.

“With a college degree, it’s almost a gamble, especially when entry-level jobs require a master’s degree and five years of experience from a 22- or 23-year-old,” Pickens said. “In reality, [trade school] is better financially and saves a lot of time.

Colleges must meet their high tuition costs by providing strong, need-based financial aid to retain enrollment, Latting said. He added that Emory hopes develop resources that ensure more students graduate debt-free, such as the Emory Advantage program. From this academic year, Emory replaced needs-based student loans with institutional grants and scholarships.

Another major part of increasing college enrollment is adding part-time degree programs for students who are working or have extra commitments, Latting noted. Colleges are seeing an increasing demand for online courses as undergraduate enrollment from online institutions is mostly grown up 3.2% compared to last fall.

Although Emory is expanding its financial aid programs, some students believe that the University could provide greater financial aid and support from the Emory administration to meet their academic aspirations.

“Stop making tuition unaffordable,” Pickens said. “Provide more financial aid to low-income students. …provide more resources for student mental health and stress.

By increasing communication and transparency, Burca said students will not only have the support they need to achieve their goals, but will also see a positive return on their educational investment.

“Work with students to ensure their success, be more flexible with academic accommodations, hire great teachers, and simply help students achieve their goals,” Burca said.

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