Approximately Two-Thirds of Americans Ages 18 to 24 Have Canceled or Changed Their Education Plans

Strada Center for Consumer Insights' weekly survey on the impact of COVID-19 finds that 65 percent of young Americans have either canceled their education plans, delayed enrollment, or made other substantial changes.

INDIANAPOLIS — Strada Education Network, a national social impact organization dedicated to forging pathways between education and employment, has released a new analysis of its weekly, nationally representative survey tracking the impact of the global pandemic on Americans’ lives, work, and education.

This week’s Public Viewpoint report finds that overall, 34 percent of American adults (18 to 64) have canceled or changed education plans, while 65 percent of the youngest adults (18 to 24) have done so. Young adults are more likely to have canceled plans altogether, at 22 percent, compared to 17 percent of those ages 25 to 44 and 9 percent of those ages 45 to 64.

“We’re seeing widespread changes in Americans’ education plans because of COVID-19, and young adults are especially likely to have canceled or otherwise changed their plans. At the same time, adults ages 25-44 who are not currently enrolled report they are just as likely as their younger peers to start a new program within the next six months,” said Dave Clayton, Senior Vice President at the Strada Center for Consumer Insights. “These shifts, along with the interest in rapid skill development, have major implications for colleges, universities, and other providers seeking to serve workers and learners through this crisis.”

Among Americans who have canceled or changed education plans because of COVID-19, 41 percent have canceled, 22 percent have delayed enrollment, and 15 percent have reduced the number of courses or training, while others have changed providers or majors. Eight percent have started new education or training programs because of the crisis.

People with and without postsecondary degrees and credentials are almost identical in whether or not they have canceled or delayed education. However, Americans with postsecondary degrees and credentials say they are more likely to enroll in new programs. And among all Americans who are likely to pursue additional education in the next six months, there is a preference for online-only institutions; and employer-based training.

Additional key findings from the Public Viewpoint: COVID-19 Work and Education Survey include:

  • Among those who are not currently enrolled, Americans ages 25 to 44 are just as likely to start a new program in the next six months as those ages 18 to 24.
  • While young adults were the most likely to cancel or change their plans, when those ages 25-44 did alter their plans, they were more likely to cancel or delay their education as opposed to making other changes such as a reduction in course hours or change of school.
  • Those with postsecondary degrees or credentials are more likely to enroll in all types of education than those without postsecondary degrees or credentials.
  • Families are ranked as the most valuable source of advice about education or training for those considering enrolling.

Each week, 1,000 Americans are surveyed for the Public Viewpoint. To date, over 8,000 Americans have participated. The Public Viewpoint is produced by Strada Education Network’s Center for Consumer Insights, a research team that studies the experiences and perceptions of American adults in order to inform the development of a more consumer-centered learning ecosystem. The Center for Consumer Insights provides the nation’s largest education consumer database, which includes more than 350,000 completed surveys about the education and work experiences of American adults.

View the full Public Viewpoint findings at:

About Strada Education Network

Strada Education Network is a pioneering social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment. We believe real impact comes from informing, engaging and empowering learners and leaders alike. Our approach combines innovative research, thought leadership, strategic philanthropy, mission-aligned investments and a network of affiliate organizations. Together, we work to create a new learning ecosystem that better serves the millions of Americans seeking to complete postsecondary education and training, gain clear value from those experiences, and build meaningful careers. Learn more at