January 10, 2017
But vocational enrollments are up.
Regular readers of this blog know that a consistent theme to my articles has to do with the fact that vocational education in a skilled trade is a worthwhile alternative to college for mechanically minded individuals. That message seems to be getting through to society at-large.
College enrollments have dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to the nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC). The total number of students enrolled for the fall term of 2016 declined 1.4%, while the undergraduate student count dropped even more, by 1.9%. There has been a steady decline ever since college enrollment peaked at nearly 20.6 million in 2011. Since then the number has dropped by a million and a half to just over 19 million.
In NSCRC’s analysis, the majority of the decline occurred among students over age 24. It seems that many adults who in the past may have considered returning to school to enhance career opportunity are instead joining the work force – or opting for vocational training. A story I’ve heard time and time again is of disillusioned college students and even graduates turning to the trades after getting hit by skyrocketing tuition, onerous student loans, and poor job prospects despite a college degree.
I’d also like to draw your attention to a separate but related issue. If you’re so inclined, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too. Many reputable colleges and universities now offer online courses that enable you to pursue a college degree while you work at a trade or any other job. Check out these opportunities here.