It’s a well-known fact among college admissions counselors that when the economy is doing well, enrollment drops – especially for non-traditional students.
And, it makes total sense. If the economy is thriving, potential students are more likely to have a good job or good job prospects. Time is a resource, and it makes sense for people to spend their time earning money.
When the economy dips, however, people may lose their jobs or have fewer job prospects. Thus, they return to college while waiting for the economy to rebound. Hopefully it rebounds in that time, and when the student graduates, they are more marketable.
Here’s a fact: non-traditional undergraduate students are less likely to pursue higher education when the economy is great and employment prospects are great even with the convenience of online college.
When students are making the decision to return to college, they must decide to invest their time. Time is a limited resource, and when there is no incentive to return to college, that time is often spent working, spending time with friends and family, or pursuing a hobby.
Quite a few years ago, our economy went through a downturn. During the recession, many students went back to college with the hope of graduating with a bachelor’s degree and the prospect of a higher paying job.
The evidence: according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2007, 1.9 million students ages 40-64 were enrolled in college either part-time or full-time. By 2011, 2.3 million students between the ages of 40-64 were enrolled in college. As the economy has improved, the numbers have started to decline.
Our economy is doing well. In January, the national unemployment rate was 4 percent and in the Charleston Metro area, it was even better – only 3 percent.
With a thriving economy and more employers moving to the area, why should you consider going back to college to finish your degree?