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Released October 27, 2020
One-Pager | Topline Findings | Charts
COVID-19 is Disrupting Students’ Confidence in the Value of Higher Education
Over the past five years, after hearing from more than 350,000 Americans through our Strada-Gallup research, we know that beliefs about the value of education and training after high school are closely tied to connections to work. In this unusual semester, what is happening to these connections, and how are these changes shaping opinions about value?
Our Student Viewpoint survey, with more than 4,000 responses from undergraduates now enrolled at bachelor’s degree-granting schools, finds that beyond the disruptions to in-person learning, COVID-19 is challenging essential drivers of student and alumni beliefs about the long-term value of their education. Understanding these real-time dynamics can help faculty, higher ed leaders, and administrators support students’ needs and reduce the frictions they are experiencing.
1 in 3 college students say their school is “excellent” or “very good” at connecting education to meaningful careers.
1 in 5 college students say COVID-19 has made their opportunities for career exploration “much worse.”
Fewer than 1 in 5 current college students strongly agree their education will be worth the cost.
When students have the support to connect their education to a career, they are more likely to say their education will be worth the cost.
To better understand the value community colleges provide to individuals and communities, we need to acknowledge the range of needs they serve.
A wide range of experiences prepare students for success beyond the completion of their college degree. The evidence for the value of interning on students' future careers is strong.
In an era of student enrollment declines, tight labor markets, rising college costs, and a growing lack of confidence in the value of a postsecondary education, community colleges and employers have ample reasons to partner together.
Partnerships between community colleges and employers have the opportunity to address local and regional economic needs through a range of tools, including supporting student success through resources and services, integrating work-based learning, and building career pathways.
The list of benefits associated with earning a college degree is extensive and oft-repeated. It includes higher average lifetime earnings, employment security, greater self-esteem, and better health, among many others.
Amid all of this disruption, the number of U.S. workers leaving or changing their jobs sharply increased. Known variously as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle, or Realignment, the trend has been cast in the cultural imagination as a collective desire on the part of the American workforce for more rewarding or meaningful work.
Over the past 80 years, our nation has made great strides in improving access to college, and then ensuring that many more students could complete a college degree.
Spring 2022 enrollment numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse reveal a fifth straight semester of enrollment declines, with more than 1 million fewer students enrolled compared to spring 2020
Higher education’s measurement of student success is in the midst of an evolution. For nearly five decades, success efforts focused on access, then two decades with completion as the horizon for success, and now the focus is extending to student outcomes beyond completion.
Applied connections between education and work are increasingly a part of undergraduate education in the United States.
Two centuries after the first historically Black colleges and universities were founded, the 101 accredited HBCUs in operation today continue to deliver on their legacy of expanding educational opportunity for Black students that leads to successful and fulfilling lives.
As a field, higher education has experienced a continuing evolution in how to measure success. For nearly five decades success efforts were focused on access, followed by the past decade and a half pursuing completion, and the field now has a growing focus on the value of a degree and student outcomes beyond completion.
Strada’s prior research on undergraduate perceptions of the value of their education demonstrates that students value their education most when they receive support to connect their education and career interests.
In the wake of historic pandemic-related enrollment declines, postsecondary institutions have responded by developing and expanding innovative approaches to engaging learners.
The baccalaureate degree remains the surest path to economic mobility, employment stability, and a host of associated social benefits.
Steep declines in undergraduate enrollment during 2020 and 2021 threaten to widen existing equity gaps in college completion and career opportunities.
Nondegree credentials have been growing rapidly for decades. During the COVID-19 economic crisis, interest in nondegree credentials and skills training options was especially high. Questions about their quality and value, however, remain.
The high school classes of 2020 and 2021 have endured massive disruption to their education.
From its onset in early 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended life across the world, leading to uncertainty around health, work, finances, education, and a host of other issues.
The pandemic has led to a national crisis of widespread disruption to both work and education for millions of adults in the U.S., especially those from historically marginalized groups.
We asked alumni nationwide who had borrowed money to go to school if their loans were worth it. Strada Education Network and Gallup surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 student loan holders.
Our mission is to improve lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment.
How Intermediaries Can Connect Education and Work in a Postpandemic World