I'm sure you're getting sick of hearing about the draining effects of the recession ' the layoffs, the ups and downs of the market'?¦ it's exhausting! But, since we're still in the midst of it, here's an interesting fact that may be a positive result of a messy economy. According to Pew Research, college enrollment has hit an all-time high. In October 2008, about 40% of 18-24 year olds (11.5 million) in the U.S. were enrolled. Driving this upward trend? Two-year college enrollment levels.
With unemployment reaching its highest levels in decades, people are turning to these cost-efficient education venues as an alternative to the more expensive 4-year options, and as a way to advance (or change) their now-stalled careers. Traditionally, enrollment in 2-year colleges rise as the economy dwindles, but as more students try to balance some work with their schooling, this trend may continue to grow even after the economy stabilizes.
Another condition that is affecting these enrollment levels is the fact that the pool of college-eligible students has expanded. More young adults are finishing high school than ever before. High school dropout rates fell to a record 9.3% in 2008. In fact, by October 2008 almost 85% of all 18-24 year olds had completed high school.
So while the country may seem to be in an endless cycle of budget cuts, job losses, and down markets, rest assured we'll come out on the other side a more educated society.