Most say that going to college is one of the best experiences you can have. You learn more than you have ever been taught. You make new friends that will stick with you throughout your entire life. You pursue dreams that you never thought were possible to achieve.
Today, nearing the two year mark of this seemingly never-ending global pandemic, undergraduate enrollment dropped again. This time 3.1%, the time frame being from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021. From the fall of 2019 until now the drop is 6.6%, or an equivalent of 1,205,600 students in total.
Stephanie Saul of the New York Times claims that the decline was accelerated when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. She writes, “That decline then accelerated steeply when Covid-19 forced many classes online and restricted campus life. The economic disruption caused by the pandemic also forced many prospective college students into the workplace.” The decline she refers to was the decline in enrollment before the pandemic.
The decline is forcing people to put aside their dreams in order to put food on the table in this pandemic. People are picking jobs over college. The economic crisis we face due to the pandemic is affecting not just what we see today but long term aspirations as well. College is a dream, and now over one million people have lost the ability to experience that dream.