Have you ever read an article and have it trigger another thought so profound you actually get a chill? I did today.
I started off reading an article in the New York Times called College Enrollment Falls and Economy Recovers. First, I would quibble with the description of the economy in recovery. 1-2% growth 5 years after a recession ends is not a recovery, especially with the Feb flooding the economy with nearly a trillion dollars a year. However, it’s the New York Times so I understand their opinion.
From the article:
College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years.
How do they know it will only last for a few years? I’m sure the music industry thought the decline in CD sales in the early 2000s was just for a few years too. Who know, they could be right, we will see.
Another explanation for the decline in enrollment in a poor economy means students don’t want to take on a huge amount of debt unless they can be sure they can get a job afterwards. But what about the ones who have already gotten into huge debt and don’t have a job? What are the implications of the huge cost of college? Could colleges be eating their seed corn?
To eat the seed corn – To eat the corn which should be saved for seed, so as to forestall starvation; – a desperate measure, since it only postpones disaster.
– any desperate action which creates a disastrous situation in the long-term, done in order to provide temporary relief.
If you are in huge debt you tend not to have the money available for starting your life by getting married, buying a house and having children. Are we seeing this happening? Check this out:
The recession has been over for four years, but the birth rate in the U.S. continues to fall as many people struggle with a sluggish economy and financial uncertainty.
According to a recent analysis by the Pew Institute, since 2007 when there were a record 4,316,233 births, the number of births has been steadily declining, with 4,007,000 births in 2012 – the lowest number since 1998.
The US birth rate has fallen significantly. I thought that made sense considering the conditions the new generation finds themselves in but then I thought: holy cow, these grads should be having children who would themselves be going to college in 18 years.
So this is what hit me earlier: If they aren’t having kids, who will go to college in two decades?
As I have said many times, what will transform education is not some big government program, it will be economics.