State of Higher Education Report Offers Insights on Pandemic-Related Disruptions to Higher Education

April 25, 2022

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Title: The State of Higher Education 2022 Report

Source: Gallup and the Lumina Foundation

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial disruption in higher education, creating challenges for both institutions and students. Gallup, in partnership with Lumina Foundation, has released its 2022 State of Higher Education Report, which demonstrates the impact of these challenges while informing how colleges and universities might leverage their position to reskill adults for future career pathways.

Gallup surveyed four groups of adults 18 or older who live in the United States and completed high school, including:

  • Students currently enrolled in an associate or bachelor’s degree program
  • Students enrolled in a certificate or degree program prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have since unenrolled
  • Students enrolled in a certificate or degree program since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but are not currently enrolled
  • Adults aged 18-59 who have never enrolled in a certificate or degree program following completion of high school.

Key findings include:

  • Among current unenrolled individuals, 44 percent report they considered pursuing a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree program. Consideration was highest among individuals who had previously enrolled during COVID-19 (85 percent).
  • Black and multiracial adults were most likely to consider enrolling in a certificate or degree program in the past two years (both 51 percent).
  • Associate degree programs are the most popular pathway considered among unenrolled adults (20 percent).
  • Over half of students who are not currently enrolled in a degree or certificate program cite cost as the most important factor why they remain unenrolled.
  • Over one-third of currently enrolled students reported it was “difficult” or “very difficult” to remain enrolled in their program going into fall 2021. Students of color were more likely to indicate difficulty to remain enrolled.
  • Among students currently enrolled in bachelor’s programs, over one-third (32 percent) have considered stopping out in the past six months. This is similar to the share of students who reported considering stop out (33 percent) in the early months of COVID-19.
  • Students currently enrolled in bachelor’s and associate degree programs report emotional stress (71 percent) as the most important reason they have considered stopping out.
  • Nearly half of all currently enrolled students cite financial aid and the value of their degree or credential as important factors to them remaining enrolled.

To read the full report, click here.

—Danielle Melidona

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