Impact of a Recession on Education (2)

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Higher Education Enrollment and Recessions (2)

The economy is a significant driver of higher education enrollment. In particular, an economic downturn trend exacerbates the rate at which students enroll in colleges and universities in the United States. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of students who enrolled for higher education increased from 2.4 million to 2.7 million due to the Great Recession.

Overview

Potential Impacts of Economic Recession/International Disasters on Higher Education Enrollment

  • Higher education enrollment is always counter-cyclical: during an economic downturn, enrollment goes up. Eduventures Research projected a possible rise in enrollment in higher institutions, particularly in those currently struggling with recruitment.
  • Several studies have linked economic recession and international disasters with worse academic results due to students’ absences. According to Chalk Beat, missing ten days of a mathematics class in high school would lower grades while also reduce graduation and college enrollment by 6% and 5 points, respectively.
  • Economic recession leads to deep education spending cuts. Several states always make bigger cutbacks, which eventually result in poor college enrollment rates and worse test scores. A cut of $1,000 per student would translate to nearly a 3% point average decline in higher education enrollment.
  • Inside Higher Ed projected that the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to affect state education budgets. Nearly a decade into the economic recovery, the state funding per student remains below the pre-recession levels, with states like Arizona still have more than 40% cut per student since the Great Recession. If the international disaster prolongs, it would have a devastating impact on higher education budgets, which would affect the rate of student enrollment.
  • Forbes reported that the COVID-19 outbreak currently witnessed would affect enrollment in higher education. American universities will witness a decrease in the enrollment of international students, of which one-third come from China. With economic impacts and test cancellations, the virus will affect the admissions cycle.
  • An international disaster can derail the enrollment plans of high school students and prospective college learners. A new survey conducted by The Chronicle found that one in 6 high school students who planned to enroll in a 4-year college full-time program before the COVID-19 outbreak is not considering a new path this fall. 3 to 5 students, though still maintain that they will enroll in their bachelor’s degree program, are concerned about their ability to attend their first-choice institutions.
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