Estimated 15% Drop in 2020 College Enrollment. How will this $23 Billion be Reallocated?

According to VNM USA, insights gathered in the book Modern College, we’re amidst one of the greatest shifts in higher education since the introduction of the American G.I. bill in the 1940s, which largely brought the modern college system into the mainstream.

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  • The American Council on Education estimates that [college] enrollment for the next academic year will drop by 15%, including a projected decline of 25% for international students, resulting in a revenue loss for institutions of $23 billion.

That’s roughly 1 in 7 students who is now forgoing the college plans they originally planned. What does this mean for these students? What does it signal to the greater education ecosystem?

For one, we’re going to see more students taking a gap year. Many will forego the traditional four-year degree for practical and affordable vocational training. EdTech platforms will attract many of these students. For example, in Q1 2020, Udemy reported a 425% increase in consumer enrollment.

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“Amidst this changing landscape, students are left confused. The traditional post-high-school path has abruptly changed. They need guidance. And books like Modern College outline a better path forward for them.” – George Anders, Senior Editor at Large, LinkedIn and Author of “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a Useless Liberal Arts Education”

As for colleges and universities, they will struggle with balance sheets that are losing top-line revenue. According to CNBC, the University of Alaska announced it will cut 39 academic departments. Other universities will follow the example of MIT Sloan and open up their degrees to online students.

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