A rising number of high school students are giving up on college as "the only route to a good job, stability and a happy life," according to a new report.
"Why do I want to put in all the money to get a piece of paper that really isn’t going to help with what I’m doing right now?" Grayson Hart, a high school graduate who works in Jackson, Tennessee, reportedly told AP News.
"Hart is among hundreds of thousands of young people who came of age during the pandemic but didn’t go to college," the outlet explained, calling the trend a "crisis."
Or as AP News summarized in a video on dropping college enrollment, "COVID-era grads skip college over debt risks" and "jobs."
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"Economists say the impact could be dire," the article continued.
The shift away from college has taken hold of an entire generation, according to the AP story.
"At worst, it could signal a new generation with little faith in the value of a college degree. At minimum, it appears those who passed on college during the pandemic are opting out for good. Predictions that they would enroll after a year or two haven’t borne out."
On Twitter, AP warned that "educators, researchers and students" are reporting that they feel "jaded by education institutions."
As a result, and "[l]argely left on their own amid remote learning," AP News added, "many took part-time jobs. Some felt they weren’t learning anything, and the idea of four more years of school, or even two, held little appeal."
One poll, conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse, revealed that undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8 percent from 2019 to 2022.
Another student profiled by AP News, Boone Williams, "took advanced classes and got A’s," but has chosen to master a trade.
"The pay is modest," the outlet wrote, "but eventually [Williams] expects to earn far more than friends who took quick jobs after high school."
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Dissatisfaction with higher education also seems to be growing among current students.
Marymount University, a Catholic liberal arts university in northern Virginia, voiced outrage after their school eliminated a number of majors at the school, including religious studies, math, English, philosophy, art, history, sociology, economics, and secondary education.