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December 21, 2009

College rocks

One apparent impact of the ongoing recession has been a sharp increase in college enrollments. How have the numbers changed, and is the recession the only reason?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Of college kids - and we usually define college kids as those people between the ages of 18 and 24; I know other people of other ages are in college, but this is the major group - of that group, 40 percent of them are now in college. And 10 years ago, it was only 35 percent. And two years ago, right before the recession, is was 37 percent. So what we're seeing is more people of college age actually in college. Now clearly, one reason is the recession. In fact, the unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds is 20 percent. So if you're unemployed, if you have an option to go to college, of course, people look at this and say, well, I'm not going to lose that much money, and I might as well get some additional training. So we see college enrollments going up. But there are some other factors at work here. First of all, there are actually more kids available for college because the high school dropout rate has been cut by about 40 percent in the last 25 years. But I think the big reason right now, apart from all this, is that kids realize that to get a good-paying job in the kind of economy that we have now and the kind of economy that we're going to have in the future, increasingly, you simply need a college education."

Posted by Dave at December 21, 2009 08:00 AM