Good News From the World of Academia

NBC News reports that college attendance is dropping:

A little-understood backlash…

Little-understood by them.

…against higher education is driving an unprecedented decline in enrollment that experts now warn is likely to diminish people’s quality of life and the nation’s economic competitiveness, especially in places where the slide is most severe.

I sincerely doubt that. These are the numbers:

There are 4 million fewer students in college now than there were 10 years ago, a falloff many observers blame on Covid-19, a dip in the number of Americans under 18 and a strong labor market that is sucking young people straight into the workforce.

But while the pandemic certainly made things worse, the downturn took hold well before it started. Demographics alone cannot explain the scale of this drop.

John Nolte comments:

Over just four years, between 2016 and 2020, the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college dropped from 70 percent to 63 percent. That’s a seven-point drop nationally.

It needs to drop more.

In certain states, it decreased even more. In Tennessee, it dropped 11 points to 53 percent. Indiana dropped 12 points to 53 percent. West Virginia dropped 10 points to just 46 percent.

Why the decline in “higher” education? Rising costs, fueled in large part by a foolish government loan program, are obviously a major culprit. And those costs are running into growing doubts about the value of a degree. Part of the problem is that the quality of instruction has slipped badly. Moreover, a large majority of jobs don’t need a college degree, so if your motivation is financial, as it is for many people, the costs don’t make sense.

But I think the intolerant leftism that prevails on virtually all campuses is also an important part of the story. Higher education, run mostly by women, is particularly hostile to men. Remarkably, the Left has managed to take the fun out of what used to be, for most students, a gratifying four years. I know a number of young people who have dropped out of college in disgust at the leftism that was inflicted on them, and have gone on to successful careers without carrying debt. Others have rushed through college as fast as possible, yearning for the freedom of the workplace and the outside world.

I hope college enrollment continues to decline. The reality is that many of our students are being misinformed, while many more are mostly wasting their time and money. There will always be a place for higher education, and I don’t know what the ideal percentage of young people attending college would be. It depends, obviously, on the quality of the education on offer. In today’s environment, I would guess maybe 30 percent. So further declines in college enrollment can be anticipated.

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