College Enrollment Increases

Contrary to the recession discouraging families from sending their children to college, as some suggested, actually more students are coming to college than ever before. Sara Murray writes in the Wall Street Journal that:

The share of new high-school graduates enrolled in college reached a record high last year, likely reflecting the weak job market they faced.

Some 70.1% of the 2.9 million new graduates between the ages of 16 and 24 headed to colleges and universities, the Labor Department said Tuesday, based on data from January through October 2009. That percentage was a historical high for the data series, which began in 1959.

Apparently recent high school graduates went to college in 2009 in significant numbers because they couldn’t find jobs. It’s always a little difficult for people with no training beyond high school to secure employment. It’s apparently become nearly impossible during this recession.

College enrollment numbers have been rising for years but, according to the Murray article, “the poor economy, which has created a particularly tough labor market for young and uneducated workers, is amplifying the trend.”

For many it looks like college is a way to stave off unemployment. The tough part comes in figuring out what to do when college is over.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer