The Post-Covid New Normal is Looking Bipolar

5 replies
  1. Charles Hodges
    Charles Hodges says:

    You comment: “…for the most part, we are no longer in a pandemic”. I would agree that in much of the U.S. many are no longer in a pandemic mindset, but we are still in a pandemic.

  2. Steve Mackay
    Steve Mackay says:

    Thanks for your perspicacious commentary – as always, Phil – in your cautious way – you are seemingly not explaining why there has been such a precipitous drop in college-going students. Presumably, the red hot job market (and changing demographics) are largely responsible ?

    • Phil Hill
      Phil Hill says:

      (heading to wiktionary to see if I should be flattered or insulted . . . oh, that’s nice, thanks)

      I’m working on a follow-up post on that topic, but I don’t want to go too far since I’m more of an enrollment mgt consumer. But the short answer is that I think we have a combination of labor market and perception of value as the most troubling driver. I generally agree (in less harsh terms) with Jim Luke’s perspective that schools (especially open access) have pitched themselves as a great pathway to a job, but the jobs are there for the taking. Makes you question the residual value, and having people yell at you in articles that “it’s established that bachelor’s degrees are worth the investment in the medium to long term” is pretty weak for young people making near-term decisions. Where I differ from a lot of commentary is what happens when unemployment rises. I do not think it will be as simple as reversing fortunes and automatic rise in enrollments.

      You’re right that changing demographics are a big part of the picture. This makes the NSC Spring 2022 so troubling, as 24+ age groups had bigger declines than 18-24 in every sector. There are very few non-elite schools that have not targeted “non-traditional” students, but it’s not working in aggregate.

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