What’s Happening in the World of Higher Education?

Posted on 8-09-2023

This week, Craig Siminski, of CMS Retirement Income Planning, shares with us an article discussing the decline in college enrollment, recent developments in student debt and financial aid, and tips for making cost-effective decisions:

A 2023 survey revealed a notable shift in public opinion over the past decade about the value of a college degree: 56% of Americans think a four-year college degree isn’t worth the cost due to students graduating with significant debt and a lack of specific job skills vs. 42% who believe college is worth it.

The survey numbers have almost reversed from ten years ago, while college enrollment has declined by about 15% over the same period.

A big reason many Americans are foregoing college is the cost. For the 2022–2023 year (most recent data available), the average one-year cost for tuition, fees, room, and board was $23,250 for in-state students at a four-year public college, $40,550 for out-of-state students, and $53,430 at a four-year private college. But many schools, especially “elite” private colleges, cost substantially more, with some over the $80,000 mark.

Causes and Consequences

Public misgivings about college intensified during the pandemic, when academic instruction moved online, and students had to pay large tuition bills despite missing out on the positive aspects of campus life. During the 2022–2023 school year, 62% of high school graduates enrolled in college, down from 66.2% in 2019–2020.

Sky-high costs and growing skepticism are not the only factors playing into enrollment declines. A hot job market and higher earnings for less-educated workers has made it easier for high school graduates to justify skipping college and head straight into the workforce.

At the same time, alternative forms of job training, such as apprenticeships and certificate programs, have become more prevalent and are increasingly seen as…

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Craig Siminski is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with more than 25 years of experience. His goal is to provide families, business owners, and their employees with assistance in building their financial freedom.

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